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THE LIFE OF MAHOMET. From Original Sources. Thiri 
Edition, thoroughly Revised. With a New Map and several additional 
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MAHOMET AND ISLAM. A Sketch of the Prophet's Life, from 
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THE BEACON OF TRUTH; or t Testimony of the Coran to the 
Truth of th* Christian Religion. Translated from the Arabic by Sir 
WILLIAM MUIR, K.C.S.I. Crown 8vo, as. 6d., cloth boards. 


THE CORAN: Its Composition and Teaching, and the Testimony it 
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D.CJ-, LL.D.. njl. (ft^tgna) 









PREFACE ........ vii 


HENRY MARTYN ....... 10 






NATIVE .... 76 



THE "SUNNA" 106 

BIOGRAPHIES . . . . .124 

GENEALOGIES ........ 134 

POETS . . . . . , 1*5 


THE INDIAN LITURGY . . ' . .158 

EARLY LITURGIES ....... 170 

URDOO LITURGY . . ' .192 




THE PSALTER ........ 199 

MINATORY PSALMS ....... 210 


OF PSALMS . . . . . .215 


THESE Essays are taken from the Calcutta Review, in which they 
appeared many years ago. 1 They are now repuhlished as con- 
taining matter which, it is hoped, may still, in various quarters, 
have some special interest. 

FIRST ESSAT, 1845 A.D. TJie Mohammedan Controversy. The 
immediate object of this paper was a review I was called on to 
make of Dr. Pfander's famous Apologies for the Christian faith. 
As leading up to the subject, the Essay opens with an account, 
chiefly from Dr. Lee's great work, of the controversy in previous 
times, and of Henry Martyn's discussions with the Moollas of 
Persia. The three chief writings of Pfander the Mizdn-ul-Ifaqg, 
Miftdh-ul-Asrdr, and Tarfyut-ffydt are then described. The 
debates which these give rise to between their Author and 
his Moslem opponents follow, notably that with the Mujtahid, 
or royal Apologist of the King of Oudh. In the latter part of the 
Second Essay the subject is resumed, and an account given of the 
continued controversy with the champions of the North-West 
Provinces and Lucknow brought up to date (1852). 

SECOND ESSAY, 1852 A.D. Biographies of Mohammed. The 
Essay opens with a warning against the danger of publishing in- 
correct biographies of the Prophet Certain treatises, founded on 
imperfect sources (as Washington Irving's Life of Mohammed), 
and circulated by the London and Bombay Tract Societies, are 

1 Excepting the last, published in a London journal. 


shown to be of this type. Several passages are quoted full of 
such gross misstatements as could not fail to damage our authority, 
and bring discredit on the Christian apologist. A description 
follows of Native biographies abounding in the East, whose 
authors, in entire neglect of early tradition, build their story on 
the fanciful fictions of later days. An illustration is given at 
length of a remarkable biography, The Ennobled Nativity, which 
tells us how the LIGHT of Mohammed, created a thousand years 
before the world, passed from father to son, down to the 
Prophet's birth. The whole forms a kind of celestial romance, 
the playful fantasy of an uncontrolled imagination. 

THIRD ESSAY, 1868 A.D. Sprenger on the Sources and Growth of 
Moslem Tradition. This is Dr. Sprenger's monograph on Moham- 
medan tradition, being a preface of 180 pages to his great work, 
Das Lelen und die Lehre dee Mohammad, and by far, as I think, 
its most valuable part. It has never been given to the public in 
English, and the present r6sum<$ may therefore with the greater 
confidence be commended to the notice of those interested in the 
life of Mohammed; for it is only by a thorough acquaintance with 
the rise and growth of tradition that we can, with any approach 
to certainty, distinguish between fact and fiction. For this end, 
the special value of each of the great sources of tradition the 
Swna, Genealogies, Biographies, and Commentaries, in addition 
to the Goran itself has to be carefully weighed; and this the 
researches of Sprenger have enabled us to do. 

The almost incredible mass of matter which has survived must 
be traced chieily to the SUNNA, or " practice " of the Prophet ; for 
his life and example, as law to his followers, has been sought out 
and recorded in every possible shape and detail. Another cause 
of the prodigious growth of tradition is, that the most distant 
connection with the Prophet a word or a glance conferred honour 
on him who could claim it ; and so a vast body of all kinds of 
tales was ready to the eagei? collector's hand. Hence the necessity, 
in forming an estimate of Mohammed's life and the early rise of 
Islam, of such a study as will enable us to test the evidence on 
which such traditions stand ; and here Sprenger is our guide* 


For I need hardly say that no authority comes near to that of 
one whose researches in this branch of Moslem history are un- 
exampled in their range and familiarity with the subject. 

FOURTH ESSAY, 1850 A.D. The Indian Liturgy. Our Prayer- 
Book is altogether inadequate to meet the needs of the Indian 
Church. Among other things for which there is no provision, 
two stand out pre-eminently. Prayers for the early and the 
latter Rain are nowhere to be found ; and yet on these in India 
hang life and death, fruitful seasons or fatal dearth. Then there 
are the surrounding masses of Heathen and Mohammedans, and 
the dangers to our converts resulting from their influence and 
example; the necessity also of unceasing supplication for the 
ingathering of all around them. Hence the importance, as urged 
in this Essay, of such an enlargement of the Indian liturgy as will 
meet these and other objects of time and pkce. The reasonable- 
ness is also urged of permission to use unfixed forms, as borne out 
by the example of the early Church. The authority of Bingham, 
Palmer, and others, as to the practice of the apostolical age and 
the gradual introduction of liturgical services, is referred to as a 
lesson to ourselves. This historical outline (though, I fear, carried 
to an unnecessary length) will, it is hoped, be found of interest, 
and to abound with lessons bearing on the reasonableness of 
the adoption of such a service as may best suit the wants of 
churches planted in the midst of heathen nations. 

FIFTH ESSAY, 1887 A.D. The freer and more varied.use of the 
Psalms in our churches. Looking to the Eastern and Roman 
Churches, we find that the serial repetition of the Psalter is 
modified by the use in its stead of the Proper Psalms appointed 
for the Ferial and Saints' days constantly recurring in their 
services. Such being not the case in our own Church (six holy 
days excepted), the daily and monthly repetition of the Psalms in 
the same serial form is with us never changed from one year's end 
to another. 

This want of freedom has long been felt in America to be a 
serious disadvantage. And, to remedy it, two measures have for 


many years been there observed. First, by substituting a table of 
Proper Psalms for sixteen holy days. And secondly, another 
table containing ten series of selected Psalms was long ago intro- 
duced into the Prayer-Book, "to be read, instead of the Psalms 
for the clay, at the discretion of the Minister." The American 
services are thus enriched in no ordinary degree, and made suit- 
able to time and occasion. A further object has been to escape 
the imperative use of the minatory passages in the Psalms, a sub- 
ject which has long exercised the American mind. The alter- 
native table entirely avoids these ; so that it is in the power of 
the Minister, when they occur in the Psalms for the day, to 
read out of the other table instead. 

Following the example of their American sister, the Con- 
ventions of Canterbury and York, some twenty years ago, 
approached Her Majesty with a table of Proper Psalms. It is 
earnestly to be hoped that the endeavour thus already made will 
not be lost sight of, but be prosecuted till it meet with the desired 

W. M. 



From the " Calcutta Review," 1845 

T. Controversial Tracts on Christianity and MoJiammedanism, 
etc. By the Rev. S. Lee, A.M. Cambridge, 1824. 

2. Mohammedanism Unveiled. By the Rev. Charles Forstor, 

B.D. 2 vols. London, 1829, 

3. Mfaun-ul-Haqq ; or, a Resolution of the Controversy between 

Christians and Mohammedans. In Persian. By the Rev. 
C. G. Pfander. Shflshy, 1835. Ditto translated into 
Urdoo. Mirzapore, 1843. 

4. Mift&fwd-Asr&r : A Treatise on the Divinity of Clirist and 

the Doctrine of flie Holy Trinity. In Persian. By the 
same author. Calcutta, 1839. Ditto in Urdoo. Agra, 

5. Tariq-ul-Hydt : A Treatise on Sin and Redemption. In Per- 

sian. By the same author. Calcutta, 1840. 

6. Controversial Epistles between the Rev. C. G. Pfander and 

Syad Rehmat Ali and Mohammed Kdzim All. Urdoo 

7. Controversy between the Rev. C. ff. Pfander and Moulavi 

Syad Ali Hassan. In Urdoo. Published in the Khair 
Khdh Hind, newspaper, from January to August, 1845. 


8. Khul&scw-Saulat-uz-Zaigham : An Urdoo Tract in Refutation 

of Christianity. Lucknow, 1258 Hegiri. 

9. Answer to the above. In Urdoo. Allahabad, 1845. 

10. Eashf-ul-Astdr li Kasri Miftdh^l-Asrdr ; or, The Key of 
Mysteries Shattered. Lucknow, 1845. 

MOHAMMEDANISM is perhaps the only undisguised and formid- 
able antagonist of Christianity. From all the varieties of heathen 
religions Christianity has nothing to fear, for they are but the 
passive exhibitions of gross darkness which must vanish before 
the light of the Gospel. But in Islam we have an active and 
powerful enemy ; a subtle usurper, who has climbed into the 
throne under pretence of legitimate succession, and seized upon 
the forces of the crown to supplant its authority. It is just 
because Mohammedanism acknowledges the divine original, and 
has borrowed so many of the weapons of Christianity, that 
it is so dangerous an adversary. The length, too, of its reign, 
the rapidity of its early conquests, and the iron grasp with 
which it has retained and extended them, the wonderful tenacity 
and permanent character of its creed, all combine to add strength 
to its claims and authority to its arguments. 

When the first tide of Mohammedan invasion set in towards' 
the West, its irresistible flood seemed about to overwhelm the 
whole of Europe and extinguish every trace of Christianity, just 
as its proud waves were repelled by the Pyrenees ; but though 
Europe, as a whole, successfully resisted the attack, yet Moham- 
medan settlements continued for centuries in various quarters to 
exist upon it. Again, during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, 
when Europe poured forth her millions into the East, the 
Crusaders established for a length of time in Syria and the Holy 
Land, a succession of posts which in the end were gradually 
swept away by Moslem arms. And, finally, in the fifteenth 
century, the closing conquest of Constantinople and establishment 
of the Turkish empire with its extended frontier towards Hungary 
and Italy, confirmed and perpetuated the last and most intimate 
relations which have taken place between Europe and Islam. 


Here, then, we have a long period of twelve centuries, during 
which Christianity has been in contact with her mortal foe; while 
upon three marked occasions that foe was the grand object of her 
hopes and fears. It would have been natural, therefore, to expect 
that Christian Europe would have entered the lists not merely 
with the sword and with the shield. We might have anticipated 
that her learned divines and apologists would have advanced to 
the combat clad in the celestial armour of the Gospel; and that 
Home, besides pouring forth the martial bands of Christendom, 
would have strenuously and unremittingly applied its hosts 
of learned monks and ecclesiastics to overcome the adversary 
with such spiritual weapons as would better have suited 
the sacred contest. The banners of Islam approached close to 
the papal See; and the Crescent, almost within sight of Im- 
perial Eome, shone brightly upon Spain, Turkey, and Sicily. 
Might we not then have hoped that its inauspicious rays would 
have waned before the transcendent glory of the Sun of 
Righteousness? How fallacious were such expectations! We 
learn, indeed, that "in later times, when, in the vicissitudes of 
military adventure, the arms of the Mohammedan were found to 
preponderate, some faint attempts were made, or meditated, to 
convince those whom it proved impossible to subdue"; and 
again, that, "in 12S5, Honorius iv. in order to convert the 
Saracens strove to establish at Paris schools for Arabic and 
other Oriental languages. The council of Vienna, in 1312, 
recommended the same method; and Oxford, Salamanca, 
Bologna, as well as Paris, were places selected for the estab- 
lishment of the professorships. But the decree appears to have 
remained without effect until Francis i. called it into life." 1 
And where are the marks and effects of this feeble and tardy 
resolution? As far as practical controversy is concerned, they 
are buried in obscurity. Learned works upon the Arabic tongue, 
translations from its authors, or at best, dissertations and com- 
mentaries which too often fight with the air, and sometimes 
betray gross ignorance of the real views and tenets of Islam, 
are all that remain. The dominion of the false Prophet needed 
1 WaddiBgton's History of the CJwrcti. 


to fear but little from such contemptible efforts, which, even had 
they been known to his followers, would most probably have served 
only to confirm them in their unbelief. In truth, the spirit of the 
age was adverse to any spiritual success. Clogged and obscured 
by error, the Church, as well in the East as in the West, had 
abandoned her vantage ground, and what but defeat and dis- 
honour were to be looked for? We are not prepared, indeed, to 
say that the entire labours of the Christian world, from the time 
of Mohammed to the Reformation, were of this futile character. 
On the contrary, we believe that devoted Christians, during this 
interval, frequently and with zeal attempted the conversion of 
the Mussulmans ; but it is a melancholy reflection that we have 
not a single account of their success, or of any beneficial effects 
resulting from their efforts. We find, it is true, in the twelfth 
century, the eastern Emperor erasing from his creed the anathema 
against the god of Mohammed, as likely to offend those Moham- 
medans who had embraced, or were disposed to embrace, 
Christianity; but, except for such transient hints, we should 
hardly be aware that the controversy was going on; nofruifs 
at least give token of vitality. 1 

How, then, are we to account for the want of success which 
characterised these long ages, in which neither party gained ground 
in the grand and momentous struggle? There are four causes to 
which it may be attributed. The first and chief est was the super- 
stition which had already gained ground in the Church before 
the rise of Islam, and which afterwards so rapidly increased and 
sprang up so thickly, crippling its exertions and stifling its 
efforts. The use of images and pictures, so hateful to the 
Moslem, and other superstitious practices of the Church, froze the 
current, which should have flowed unceasingly, diffusing to the 
nations around the genial and healing streams of Christianity. 
Again, the want of any communication or interchange of senti- 
ment, the want even of the usual offices of courtesy between the 
contending parties, occasioned partly by the mutual intolerance 
which separated them, and partly by political circumstances, 

1 [I had not then seen, or 01 course would hero have mentioned, the 
Apology ofAl Kindy> published by the S.P.C.K.] 


not only stopped the mouth of the Christian advocate by affording 
him no opportunity for discussion, but even debarred him from 
those scenes and intimacies of social life, which, by rendering 
him conversant with the ideas and tenets of Mohammedans, 
would have enabled him to dispute with them to advantage. 
Thirdly, the bigotry of the Mussulmans, the licence of con- 
cubinage and slavery, and their otherwise low standard of 
morality, acted then, even as they act now, excluding light and 
rebutting conviction with contempt. Lastly, the hostility of the 
Mohammedan governments towards Christianity checked inquiry, 
prohibited any attempt at missionary labours, and suppressed 
every approach to conversion by sanguinary measures and 
summary punishment. The last three causes extenuate, though 
they by no means remove, the charge during those long ages of 
indifference towards this great controversy. 

The fourth grand era of the connection of Christianity with 
Islam arose with the dominion of Europeans in India, And here 
every circumstance was in our favour. The presence of Europeans 
was generally the effect of conquest which, after the first feelings 
of irritation subside, invests the conqueror's faith and opinions 
with the prestige of power and authority. Here, too, our opponents 
are greatly outnumbered by the Hindoos ; and the mixed char- 
acter of the population might be expected to have broken the 
bond of Mohammedan union, so far at least as to weaken the 
thraldom of opinion and custom, to diminish the intensity of 
bigotry, and to exchange the narrow-mindedness of the Turk and 
the Persian, for somewhat of enlightened liberality in the Mussul- 
man of India. Now, at least, we might have expected that 
Christian Europe would early have improved her advantages for 
evangelising the East; that Britain, the bulwark of religion in 
the West, would have stepped forth as its champion in the East, 
and displayed her faith and her zeal where they were most 
urgently required. How different are the conclusions which the 
eighteenth century forces us to draw ! England was then sadly 
neglectful of her responsibility; her religion was shown only at 
home, and she was careless of the spiritual darkness of her 
benijghted subjects abroad ; while her sons, who adopted India as 


their country, so far from endeavouring to impart to its inhabitants 
the benefits of their religion, too often banished it from their own 
minds, and exhibited to heathens and Mohammedans the sad 
spectacle of men without a faith. Were they then neutral and in- 
active in the contest ? Alas, no 1 for their lives too often presented 
a practical and powerful, a constant and a living, argument against 
the truth of our holy faith. The great controversy was thus 
silently advancing in favour of the Mohammedan, whose views, ar- 
guments and faith, were receiving so convincing a corroboration from 
the conduct and manners of their apparently infidel conquerors. 

But the nineteenth century dawned with brighter prospects ; 
and, as it advanced, the dark incubus of idolatry, superstition and 
bigotry began gradually to receive the light and teaching of the 
Gospel Buchanan and Martyn, Brown and Thomason, are among 
the harbingers of this better era, in which Britain started from 
her lethargy; and, as if she had been treasuring up strength 
during her long inaction, came forth as a giant to the encounter. 
Her missionaries, with the venerable Carey at their head, led the 
van in a strong array ; many of her exiled sons began to perceive 
their responsibility for India's regeneration, and their number 
has since steadily increased. England now pours forth her gold 
in the merciful and blessed work of enlightening the people ; 
while a material portion of her people in India has assumed 
a new aspect, and acknowledges by its deeds that its highest 
object is the enlightenment of India. How, then, has the great 
argument between the Christian and the Moslem fared in j/his 
altered position : has it advanced as rapidly in the direction of 
truth as we might have anticipated : what has been effected since 
the tone of society has thus improved ? 

In endeavouring to answer this question, we propose to 
examine several works which have lately appeared and given 
rise to some important discussions, indicating remarkable signs of 
the times, if they do not indeed constitute a new epoch in the 
controversy. To give, however, as complete a view of the state of 
the argument as possible, we notice first a previous treatise of great 
merit and interest, which was published twenty-one years ago by 


Dr. Lee, the learned professor of Arabic in the Cambridge Univer- 
sity. It is entitled "Controversial Tracts on Christianity and 
Mohammedanism " (1824), and consists of three portions : a preface, 
embracing the previous state of the argument; translations of 
the controversy carried on in Persia between Henry Martyn and 
the Mohammedan doctors; with Dr. Lee's own continuation and 
conclusion of the argument. As this excellent work has not 
obtained that currency and circulation to which, at least in this 
country, its subject and worth entitle it, we shall now give a 
brief account of its contents. 

It is certainly not very flattering to our national pride that 
the Portuguese should have so long preceded us in the endeavour 
to place the arguments for our faith before the Mohammedans. 
In the beginning of the seventeenth century, Hieronymo Xavier 
presented an elaborate treatise on the truth of Christianity to 
the Emperor Jehangir. The preface of Dr. Lee's work opens 
with an account of this treatise, illustrated by a variety of 
extracts. Xavier visited Lahore during the reign of the great 
Akbar, and having finished his book in the year 1609, presented 
it to his Successor. The table of contents, and the specimens 
which are produced of his reasoning, appear to justify the 
author's remark that Xavier was a man of high ability, sparing 
no pains to recommend his religion to the Mohammedan or 
Heathen reader, but that he trusted more to his own ingenuity 
than to the plain declarations of Holy Writ. Indeed, from Lee's 
brief review of the several chapters and a few of the extracts, we 
cannot but perceive under what disadvantage a Eoman Catholic 
labours in attempting to argue with the Moslem. He is com- 
pelled to leave his strongholds, and descend to the relief of the 
defenceless outworks ; and his skill and subtlety are wasted in 
arguments for the reasonableness of relics and miracles, of prayers 
for the dead and worship of images. Such arguments imply not 
simply a loss of time and trouble ; they throw discredit upon the 
whole reasoning with which they are connected, and weaken the 
force of the attack. We have space only for two short extracts : 

"The section closes with a panegyric on the advantages arising from 
observing the days of the Saints and of the Holy Virgin ; and stating that 


Islamism can boast of no such ordinances. In the sixth section of the last 
chapter we have a curious account of the elevation of the Pope, which is 
intended to show that he is the regular descendant of St. Peter, and Vicar 
of Jesus Christ on earth ; and that he is both the spiritual and temporal 
ruler on earth : that it is in his power to dethrone or set up kings at his 
pleasure, and to bind or loose both in earth or heaven. "(Preface, p. xl.) 

And again: "We have evident intimations that God approves of the 
worship of these images, and this He has evinced by miracles, which He has 
wrought in favour of those who have paid particular reverence to them ; as 
it may be seen from past histories, and witnessed even now in Christian 
countries." Then follows a string of shrines, where the Moslem is invited 
to go and witness such exhibitions for himself. To all this his opponent 
quietly replies: "We need not now notice your worshipping wooden 
images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, whether such worship be intended 
as respectful to their persons, or for the purpose of paying them divine 
honours. And as a word is enough for the wise, believing as we do that 
you are such, we shall content ourselves with the mere hint." 

To this tract an answer was published about twelve years 
afterwards by a learned Mohammedan, Ahmed Ibn Zain-al- 
abidin, copious extracts from which, comprising about sixty 
pages, are given by Lee in his Preface. The author combats 
Xavier's objections against Mohammedanism, occasionally with 
skill and sometimes with effect ; but his direct arguments against 
Christianity consist chiefly of the usual components of a 
Mohammedan attack, groundless reasonings and perverted inter- 
pretations of Scripture. These are, however, more to be excused 
in this writer, because of his very slender means of acquiring any 
Christian knowledge. The mode of reasoning does not seem to 
differ essentially from that adopted in the present day, except 
that some of the positions taken up by his Eomanist opponent 
afford the Moslem a peculiar and advantageous line of argument. 
As a specimen of the manifest perversion characterising almost 
every Mohammedan polemical production, we may quote the 
passage in which verse 20 of Psalm ix. is turned into a prophecy 
of Mohammed's advent : " ' Oh God, send a lawgiver, that he 
may come and teach man that he is a man.' Hence it is plain 
that God informed David of what the Christians would say 
respecting Christ. After which David is informed that God 
would send some one who would establish a law, and teach 


mankind the right way; and that the Messiah would be but a 
man. Hence to worship him is inexcusable, much more to con- 
sider him as a God " (p. xlix.). Mahommed Ruza, in his reply 
to Henry Martyn, still further alters the passage: "David has 
also said, Send a lawgiver, oh God, that men may know that 
Jesus is a man and not a God" (p. 231). 

The fact that Christ did not punish the woman taken in 
adultery, is assumed as conclusive evidence that Christianity 
abrogated the Mosaical law. The following will serve as a 
specimen of Ahmed's reasoning :" Moses was no prophet, 
because he opposed the law as given by Jacob. In the law of 
Jacob it was allowable s to marry two sisters, for he married both 
Leah and Eachel ; which is contrary to the law of Moses. . . . 
You Christians are reduced, therefore, to this alternative, either 
you must deny the mission of Jesus; or must allow that he 
opposed Moses" (p. Ixv.). This is much the same style of 
reasoning as we have at the present day. The greater part of the 
remaining arguments consist of attacks upon the credibility of 
the Scriptures, by showing that they contain discrepancies and 
unworthy sentiments, and that the apostles and evangelists were 
men of doubtful character. Ahmed also gives the Catholics a sly 
hit about the ^Reformation : "It appears that you Christians 
oppose all the prophets. You need not, therefore, reproach and 
reprobate the English as you do. ... You say that when some 
cursed persons came who endeavoured to corrupt the Holy Scrip- 
tures, they were unable to succeed; but corrupted only those 
books, which their own reprobate doctors had' written out; and 
these are the English, some of whom are now at Isfah&a" 
(p. xciv.). What were our English ancestors then about ; were 
the Reformers silent at Isfahdn ? There is a curious account of 
the mode in which Gospels are said to have been fabricated, and 
which is ably replied to at p. cii. Having devoted a few more 
pages to the refutation of Ahmed's objections, Lee proceeds to 
describe a Latin work by Philip Guadagnoli, of the College 
de Propag. Fide, in defence of Xavier, and refutation of Ahmed. 
Lee's silence confirms the opinion one forms of its poverty from 
the frequent references it contains to the authority of Fathers, 


Popes and Councils. We have room for no more extracts from 
Lee's Preface, which, though a useful introduction to the con- 
troversy, is wearisomely long; and turn now to the body of 
the work. 

Henry Martyn's three tracts carry us back to the discussions 
of that devoted apologist during his residence in Persia. Lee 
gives us first the treatise of Mirza Ibrahim arising out of Martyn's 
visit to Shiraz, and his public disputations with the Moslem 
doctors there. It is evidently the work of an able and learned 
writer, and is remarkable for its freedom from anything harsh and 
virulent His argument chiefly concerns miracles, of which he 
holds the Goran to be the chief est. A miracle is an act exceeding 
human experience, accompanied by a prophetic claim and the 
challenge to produce the like. It may belong to any art, but 
must be witnessed by those best skilled in such art to be beyond 
human experience and power. As such the miracle must belong 
to the age in which the art in question is in the highest stage of 
perfection. Thus the miracles of Moses and Jesus belong to the 
arts of magic and physic, which had each reached perfection in 
their Prophet's day. The evidence of the magicians is accordingly 
deemed sufficient proof for the miracles of Moses, and that of the 
physicians for those of Jesus. But had these miracles occurred in 
any other age than that in which the respective arts flourished, 
such evidence would have been imperfect, and the miracles not 
binding. This strange text, which Martyn in his reply shows 
to be founded on an inadequate knowledge -of history, the 
Mirza applies to the Goran, and proves, entirely to his own 
satisfaction, that it fulfils all the required conditions. For the 
miracle here belongs to the art of eloquence, and in it the 
Arabs of the day were the highest adepts of all ages. The Goran 
was accompanied by a challenge to produce the like, and when 
the Arabs confessed inability, then evidence, like that of the 
magicians and physicians in the case of Moses and Jesus, became 
equally binding. The Mirza further dilates on the superior and 
lasting character of the miracle, as an exhibition of supernatural 


power which will remain when all others have passed away, 
touches slightly on the other alleged miracles of his Prophet ; and 
asserts the insufficiency at the present day of all proof, excepting 
that of the Goran, for the revelations of former prophets. 

Martyn's First tract refers chiefly to this subject of miracles. 
He asserts that to he conclusive, a miracle must exceed universal 
experience ; that the testimony and opinion of the Arabs is there- 
fore insufficient, besides being that of a party concerned; that, 
were the Goran even allowed to be inimitable, that would not 
prove it a miracle ; and its being an intellectual prodigy is not a 
virtue, but rather, by making it inappreciable by the vast body of 
mankind, a defect. He concludes by denying Mohammed's other 
miracles, in the proof of which two requisites are wanting, viz., 
their being recorded at or near the time of their occurrence, and 
the narrators being under no constraint. The Second tract directly 
attacks Mohammed's mission ; alleges the debasing nature of some 
of the precepts and contents of the Goran ; and holds good works 
and repentance alone to be insufficient for salvation. Ho then 
turns to the atonement, which prefigured in types, was fulfilled in 
Christ, and made public by the marvellous spread of Christianity. 
The Third tract commences with an attack upon the strange 
doctrines of Sufiism, and shows that love and union with the 
Deity cannot be obtained by contemplation, but only through 
the manifestation of His goodness towards us, accompanied by 
an assurance of our safety; and that this is fulfilled in Chris- 
tianity, not by the amalgamation of the soul with God, but by 
the pouring out of His Spirit "upon us, and by the obedience and 
atonement of Christ. Vicarious suffering is then defended by 
analogy, the truth of the Mosaic and Christian miracles upheld, 
and the argument closes with an appeal to the authenticity of the 
Christian annals as wholly coincident with profane history. 

It will be observed that the most important part of Martyn's 
reply consists in refuting the assumptions of his opponent; he 
does not open any new ground, nor does he (except very briefly) 
touch upon the evidences proper to Christianity. His defence 
paved the way for a lengthened reply from Mirza Mahommed 
Buza ; and in the end, to quote from Lee, " However the particular 


topics discussed by them might be vindicated or refuted, the 
general question at issue may nevertheless not be advanced by 
such a method ; and the reader, reduced perhaps to the mortifying 
consideration that tune and pains had been thrown away, may 
at last ask, 'to what purpose has been this waste?' . . . but 
situated as Martyn was in Persia, with a short tract on the 
Mohammedan religion before him, and his health precarious, the 
course which he took was perhaps the only one practicable." In 
pursuing his argument, Martyn has displayed great wisdom and 
skill, and his reasoning appears to be in general conclusive ; in a 
few instances, however, he has perhaps not taken up the most 
advantageous ground. 

And first, as to miracles, Martyn does not deny that there 
might be an intellectual miracle, he merely depreciates the Goran 
as such by saying that it would not be generally intelligible. 
Dr. Lee characterises the Goran as a "miracle of the wrong sort," 
and declines the subject of miracles altogether, stating that 
neither the Mohammedan nor Christian definitions are applicable 
to our argument, and that, so great stress having been laid on 
magic, it was better to hold by the more certain guidance of 
prophecy (p. 535). He was probably right, considering the turn 
the argument had taken ; but the weight of miracles is certainly 
not to be cost off by us in the general discussion. We would, 
therefore, reject the limitation of Mirza Ibrahim, and demand 
with Martyn universal experience as the test of a miracle, which 
must be a manifest interference of the Divine power suspending or 
exceeding the usual laws which He has established, and which 
have guided the world since the beginning. In accordance with 
this principle the name of miracle must be denied to any 
'exhibition of intellectual power ; there can be no such thing as an 
intellectual miracle, at least so far as man's faculties are capable of 
judging. A power might, indeed, be conceived of perceiving 
unseen or future events, but this would constitute really, not 
an intellectual, but a prophetic miracle. We can ascertain the 
laws which govern matter, and are therefore able to perceive when 
those laws succumb to a superior power; but the laws, properly 
speaking, which govern the intellect, are more obscure, and we 


have no standard for measuring their limits. Thus we sometimes 
meet with unexampled, and almost incredible powers of memory 
and calculation; and those of eloquence and composition are 
equally irregular, 1 so that a surpassing instance in those arts, 
though it might be unapproachably excellent, cannot possibly bear 
any of the marks or requisites of a miracle. Pfander has treated 
the miracle of the Goran very ably, 2 but he has not exhibited it 
exactly in this light. He shows that the Mohammedan argument, 
admitted to its furthest extent, does not prove the Goran to be 
superior to works in other languages; but to this the Persian 
Doctors reply, that these were not accompanied, as the Goran, with 
a challenge and claim to prophecy ; and irreverently assert that, 
when these are brought forward by any worker of wonders, it 
becomes incumbent upon the Deity, if the claim be false, to raise 
up an equal or superior ! 3 

Again (p* 117), Martyn says that when Mohammed calls 
Christ the Word and Spirit of God, these titles must bear the 
same relation to the Deity, as the " word and spirit " of man to 
man. This is combated by his opponent, and Dr. Lee (p. 430) 
remarks, "It is certainly to be regretted that Martyn did not 
meet his opponent purely on his own ground. The title, Spirit of 
God, seems here to have been adopted by way of accommodation 
(it being the language of the Goran), by which, however, nothing 
could be gained, but much lost in the further prosecution of this 
question." We have a curious illustration of the truth of this in 
Pfander's controversy. That writer, in the beginning of his 

1 Had Lord Brougham forgotten the Goran, when, speaking of the 
wonderful composition of Rousseau's Confessions, lie says, u No triumph BO 
great was ever won by diction ; there hardly exists such another example of 
the miracles which composition can perform." (Lives of Men, Letters, etc., 
p. 188.) 

* Mfadn-ul-Haqq, pp. 216-220, and also in the controversy with Kazim 

3 Compare pp. 192, 204 and 210 of Mahommed Ruza's reply, where it is 
hold, that a miracle does not necessarily exceed human power ; but that 
when any wonder or work is brought forward with a challenge by a claimant 
of prophecy, and is not surpassed, it must be received as a miracle, otherwise 
the Deity would have interposed. 


treatise on the Divinity of Christ, very properly adduces the 
passage in the Goran, alluded to above, not to prove Christ's 
divinity, but merely to show what illustrious attributes the 
Mohammedans should ascribe to Jesus from the concessions their 
Prophet had made to him. Kazim Ali denies the conclusion, 
and shows that Mohammed has applied the very same expression 
to Adam: on which Pfander replies that if the Coran makes 
Adam to share in tbe Divine nature, his opponent may believe 
the doctrine if he pleases. Kazim Ali, of course, rebuts the 
imputation, and holds, with a show of reason, that the application 
of the expression to Adam proves that it was not meant to imply 
divinity. 1 So much for the caution and wariness required in this 
great controversy. 

Again, Martyn's references to alchemy (p. 82) and to magic 
(p. 85) placed his argument upon a false position, which his 
adversary did not fail to turn to advantage (pp. 203-5). His 
reply, too (p. 93), is faulty where he says, that to suppose the 
evidence of miracles to diminish with the lapse of time, would be 
to imply that a person at sixty has lost part of the conviction as to 
any fact which he possessed at twenty : the Mirza replies that the 
cases are not parallel, one involving personal identity, the other 
a succession of individuals. He also takes up a weak position 
(p. 104), when he refutes the miracles of Mohammed by the 
circumstance that some of them are said to have been performed 
while he was yet an unbeliever, which at most would prove but 
little. Mirza Kuza resents the imputation, and devotes fifteen 
pages (p. 253) to show that the passages produced by his opponent 
do not refer to belief; "'Thou wast in error, and I have 
directed thee,' that is to say, the religion of Jesus was with 

1 The author of the Staulat ws 'Zaigliam, or " Lion's onset," has a strange 
disquisition into the meaning of this phrase "Spirit of God" ; in which he 
endeavours to prove that the possessive case does not imply connection (no 
more than to say " my meat is cooking " implies that it is yours and not the 
goat's flesh), and that from this to argue Christ divine, would he to allow 
other prophets divine upon whom God's Spirit descended ; that Gabriel and 
other angels avo styled " spirits of God," and that Christ was called a spirit 
par excellence, because his laws were pre-eminently spiritual, and he lived 
like the angels without marriage. 


respect to Jesus himself and Ms followers the true one ; but may 
properly be termed c error/ with respect to the last Prophet and 
his followers." Mohammed was, therefore, at first in error 
because he was a Christian ! He also explains the verses where 
Mohammed's sins are mentioned as referring to the sins of his 
people* Our Indian antagonist K.azim Ali is more candid j for he 
does apply the words to Mohammed, but alleges that they refer 
merely to omissions of prayer and other ceremonial observances, 
which even Prophets are sometimes guilty of, but which imply 
no moral stain. So easy is it by forced reasoning to avoid the 
point of the clearest expressions ! 

We must hasten to Mirza Eliza's answer to Martyn, written 
in 1813, the year after his death. It is very prolix, occupying 
no less than 289 pages ; but not being characterised by any 
peculiar exhibition of talent, and abounding with perversions of 
Scripture and unfair conclusions, such as we meet with nowadays 
in India, the work is not deserving lengthened notice. The 
Mirza treats many of his opponent's arguments with great 
injustice, brings forward a grand array of prophecies which he 
insists upon applying to Mohammed along with the foolish story 
of the Hebrew child, expatiates upon the wonderful superiority of 
the Shiea doctrines, and praises with fulsome panegyric the 
virtues of his Prophet and the Goran. We shall take leave of 
the Mirza with a few specimens of his style ; and first an instance 
of his proficiency in history : 

"It is told of Plato, that when he heard of Jesus having restored one to 
life who had been three days dead, he said, I can do the same thing ; which 
we suppose nmst be understood of a person in the longest possible fit of 
apoplexy. For it is an established principle with the physicians, that the 
longest continuance of an apoplectic fit cannot exceed seventy-two hours. . . . 
And hence it is that when any one dies suddenly, he is not buried for three 
days ; during which time every effort is made for his recovery, because there 
is still a possibility of his being restored" (p. 217). "And again" (p. 177), 
11 when Plato wrote to Christ to know if anyone could be saved by his inter- 
vention, the answer of Jesus was, 'Divine Physician ! without my media- 
tion no one can be saved ' " (p. 173). 

The reason assigned for Mohammed's having nine wives is 


amusing, though, we do not precisely comprehend its full 

meaning ; 

" Women are in a very dependent state ; to have more than four wives 
would superinduce oppression, and to observe justice with regard to nine 
would be next to impossible. 

" Therefore, in conformity with the general mercies vouchsafed to the 
faithful, none but the Prophet were permitted to have more than four. But 
as he was tlw paragon of all justice, he was allowed to have nine. This might 
be supposed to forbid a plurality of wives, but every sensible man must see 
that the reduction of the number of wives to one would also reduce men to 
difficulties. For, it is the desire of most men to take women without any 
sort of restraint ; and it is well known that the object of Mohammed's law 
was to dimmish difficulties. It has been our object, therefore, to show that 
Mohammed's taking more wives than he allowed to others was not founded 
on lust, but with the view of diminishing the difficulties above mentioned ; 
namely, to point out the difficulty of other individuals preserving justice 
among four ; and that this was not the case (with respect to Mohammed) in 
a number exceeding five, six, or more." 

(A rich specimen of reasoning certainly; but let us see what he 
thinks of our law of marriage) : "The law, however, now in the 
hands of Christians, is, as every man of sense knows, of a very 
different description ; and, therefore, can never have come from 
Qod. . . . Their women, too, being allowed to take any man they 
may please, and whenever they please, cannot but superinduce great con- 
fusion in their tables of pedigrees, and must put an entire end to that 
chastity which, everyone knows, is both necessary and proper. In such a 
case no one can possibly know whose son he is " (p. 

And then he reads a lecture to Eoman Catholics on the evils of 
monasticism and celibacy, which is recommended to their 

We shall quote but one passage more. The Mirza denies that 
Mohammed ever intended to say that he could not work 
miracles ; " To say, therefore, that he pretended to nothing more 
than merely to Jbe the messenger of a revelation from above : and 
then to argue that a contrary supposition would involve a manifest 
contradiction to his own declarations, is evidently unfair ; and 
particularly so when applied to a period of time not less than 
three-and-twenty years" (p. 255). This objection should be 
allowed due weight ; and in order to answer it satisfactorily, 


it would be useful to find out at what different times the com- 
mentators suppose these expressions were used which disclaim the 
power of working miracles; if they extended over the greater 
period of the Prophet's ministry, it would render our attack 
unanswerable. 1 

Dr. Lee now comes forward, and, taking up the question of 
miracles, adopts a different line of argument. In his first chapter 
he exposes the insufficiency of the evidence upon which Moslems 
lean, and shows that the testimony of multitudes, if interested 
and but partially informed, is worth nothing ; he then substitutes 
instead, the true laws of evidence as enforced by Locke's six 
considerations. The Second chapter is devoted to the integrity of 
the Scriptures. The Mirza had asserted that the Old Testament 
was lost during the Babylonish captivity, and the first section 
answers the objection in a satisfactory manner. The second 
section refers to the period between the captivity and the time of 
Mohammed, during which the purity of the Bible is maintained 
by convincing arguments. He then takes occasion to show the 
value of Versions, which the Mirza foolishly imagines to have 
increased corruption. A third section discusses Kennicott's 
notion of the Jews having altered their Scriptures, which is 
shown to be unfounded. The whole chapter is recommended to 
the particular attention of our missionaries. In his Third chapter, 
Dr. Lee, foregoing the proof by miracles, shows from Scripture 
that a true prophet must have the gift of prophecy ; and that even 
then, if he opposes a previous revelation, he is not to be credited : 
Mohammed is condemned by these premises. The argument 
concludes with a brief description of our Scriptures, in which, 
avoiding metaphysical and abstruse arguments, he dwells on their 
adaptation to man, and refutes the objections of the Moslems. 

Where all is excellent it is difficult to select. Two short 
extracts, however, will give some idea of the Doctor's conclusive 
mode of treating his subject The Mirza had discarded the 
doctrine of the atonement with this contemptuous sneer : 

" The statement " (he says, regarding Martyn's notice of it) "is calculated 
to provoke the smile even of a child. For all might have been obviated 

1 [The abnegation is absolute throughout.] 


by one sentence, which the angel Gabriel could have delivered and ex- 
plained to any one of the Prophets." Lee replies : " However this might 
have teen done concerns not us to know. Our question is not, as to what 
might have lem done, but what has been done. If the Almighty had 
thought proper, He might have revealed His will in ways totally different 
from those which He has chosen ; but as His will has been revealed, it is 
our duty to inquire what that is, and not to suggest what might have 
been " (p. 560). 

And, again, as to the miracles ascribed to Mohammed : 

"They are either said to have been performed in private, as his being 
saluted as a prophet by stocks and stones, when he was a child ; or are 
false, such as his dividing the moon, causing the sun to stand still, etc., 
which would have been recorded by the Greeks and others had any such 
thing actually taken place ; or they were executed for no adequate purpose 
whatever, such as the poisoned shoulder of mutton speaking. 1 . . . Again, 
as to the number of the witnesses to these miracles, they may generally bo 
reduced to one: Ali, for instance, or Ayesha, or Hasan, or Hosein, who 
delivered the account orally to someone who delivered it to another in the 
same way : and so, after many generations, the account i$ committed to 
writing by Kuleini, or Bochari, or some other respectable collector of 
traditions. These, then, are copied by a number of compilers who follow ; 
and then the number calculated to produce assurance is cited as worthy of 
all credit!" (p. 567). 

The subject of such traditions, as evidence competent to prove 
miracles, is ably treated by Pf ander in his Mizdn-ul-Haqq, where 
he shows that the original witnesses were interested, that their 
testimony never exceeded hearsay, and had already become 
shadowy before it was committed to paper ; and that the tradi- 
tions refute themselves from the absurdity as well as discrepancy 
of their contents. This is a topic of extreme importance; what 
we require, is a sifting analysis of the traditions, according to 
the probable dates of their being recorded; an account of the 
individuals who registered them; of the means they possessed 
for arriving at a true knowledge of the facts ; and of the number 
through whom they successively descended. Such a manual 
would prove useful to the missionary ; and, if written in a proper 

1 [The purpose was sufficient ; but according to tradition it was too late, 
for one of the Prophet's followers died from eating it, and the mouthful 
Mohammed took himself affected him all his after-life, tiU on his deathbed,] 


spirit, might tend to loosen the hold which such evidence has 
upon the Mohammedans, of whom the more intelligent are not 
slow in acknowledging the futility of hearsay, or the insufficiency 
of interested evidence. 1 

Besides the text of Dr. Lee's work, thus briefly reviewed, 
there is a great deal of valuable matter in the appendices; 
especially extracts from Aga Akbar's tract 2 on Mohammed's 
miracles, to which are added notes on the prophecies of the 
Goran, and an important disquisition tracing Mohammed's 
scriptural knowledge to Syria, and many of his stories to Ephrem 
the Syrian. We should like to see this book in the hands of 
every missionary ; in its present shape, indeed, it is bulky, and 
in some parts tedious ; but if the preface and Mirza Buza's tract 
were curtailed, the remainder might be printed in a cheap form 
fit for general circulation. 3 The portions which regard the Stiiea 
doctrines would not, however, be so generally applicable here as 
in Persia; for, excepting in Oudh, the Indian believers as a 
rule belong to the Sunni faith. 

1 [Such a work, however, is hardly necessary, as the disavowal of 
miracles in the Goran itself is sufficiently plain and decided.] 

3 At p. 109, this writer makes a very candid confession. In justifying 
Mohammed's religious wars, he says that his Prophet " was sent in mercy 
to mankind ; but had he not put some to death, seized upon their property, 
and carried away the rest captives, the whole world must have remained 
in infidelity and discord, so that the light which he came to bestow would 
have fallen upon none. The Arabs, therefore, would have remained 
idolaters, the Persians have rested in their doctrines or principles, . . . 
the Hindoos have continued to worship cows and trees, the Jews to con- 
tinue obstinate, and the Christians to dispute on the genealogies of persons 
who neither were nor are Father and Son." 

From Martyn's memoir, however, as well as from the extracts given by 
Dr. Lee, it would appear that Aga Akbar was but a poor defender of the 
faith, and that he was advised by his brethren not to bring forward his 
discreditable production. 

3 We have heard that an Urdoo translation of Dr. Lee's tract was 
published by the American missionaries at Ludhiana ; but it has not been 
circulated, nor had the American missionaries at another station (from 
whom we procured the information) ever seen it At p. cxxiiL Dr. Lee 
promises a Persian translation of his tract. It is not known whether this 
ever appeared. It would be highly prized in India. 


We pass on to the consideration of Dr. Pfander's writings, 
which consist of three treatises : first, Mizdn-ul-Haqq, or "Balance 
of Truth"; second, MiftdJi-ul-Asrdr, or "Key of Mysteries"; 
and third, Tartq-ul-Hydt, or "Way of Salvation." They were 
originally written in Persian, but have also been published in 
Urdoo, excepting the last which is in progress of translation. 
From his residence and travels in Persia, Pfander possesses 
advantages which fortunately qualify him in an unusual degree 
for the great controversy with our Moslem population. He was 
attached for ten or twelve years to the German mission at Fort 
Shushy on the confines of Georgia, from whence he made 
frequent and protracted visits to Persia, penetrating as far as 
Bagdad, and returning by a circuitous tour through Isfahan and 
Teheran. In 1836, the Russian Government, unable to tolerate 
the presence of foreign ecclesiastics, put a stop to the mission, 
and thus proved the means of providing us with labourers who 
in the field of Persia had acquired so valuable a knowledge of 
its language and so intimate an acquaintance with the religion 
and tenets of the Mohammedans. Pfander joined the Indian 
mission of the C. M. S. in 1838. 

Our author has not been backward in improving his peculiar 
privileges, or in availing himself of the help which the previous 
controversy and such writings as those of Dr. Lee afforded him. 
His first and most important work is the Mfaan-ul-Haqq, or 
"Balance of Truth," as between Christians and Moslems; and 
being of extraordinary value, we shall endeavour to present our 
readers with a complete account of it. The original Persian 
edition was published at Shushy in 1835, and the Urdoo 
translation was lithographed at Mirzapore in 1843. The 
argument is prefaced by a statement showing that the soul 
can alone be satisfied with the knowledge and favour of 
God, to which man in his present state is unable of himself 
to attain. To secure this end a revelation is necessary which 
must fulfil the real desires, and satisfy the spiritual wants of 
man's soul; coincide with the principles of right and wrong 
implanted in his heart; exhibit the Deity as the just and 
holy, omniscient and unchangeable Creator; be consistent in 


all its parts ; and not contradict, though it may transcend, human 

The choice, it is next proved, lies between the Bible and the 
Goran, while the Divine origin of the former is admitted by 
the latter. The notion that each revelation has successively 
abrogated its predecessor is shown to be unfounded, and un- 
worthy the Divine government; and the hypothesis that each 
advancing stage of society requires a suitably advanced revela- 
tion, refuted. The argument for the integrity of the Scriptures 
follows and, occupying as it does a considerable space, is sound, 
able and satisfactory. 

About half of the volume is now devoted to the development 
of the doctrines of the Bible and the scheme of Christianity. 
In this are treated the attributes of God ; man's condition ; the 
nature of the Atonement, its proof from prophecy and practical 
benefits ; the influences of the Holy Spirit ; and the character of 
the true Christian; the whole system being enforced by a 
variety of tests. It is difficult to say what is best done where 
all is good ; but the doctrine of the Atonement, and the spread 
of Christianity, may be specified as remarkably well discussed. 
The quotations under the head of " Commands " are, perhaps, 
too long ; it is, no doubt, necessary to show that we have a code 
of morals fully developed in our Scriptures; but when the 
extracts cover a very large space, and there is nothing to mark 
their beginning or their end, they become tedious to the native 
reader, and obstruct the flow of the argument. 

The last chapter is reserved for the direct refutation of Islam. 
The first and second marks given for recognising a true prophet 
resemble those of Dr. Lee, except that miracles are admitted. 
They are as follows: His teaching must not oppose previous 
revelations ; it must be supported by proper evidence, as that of 
miracles or prophecy ; his conduct must befit that of a prophet 
of God; and his doctrines must not be enforced by violence. 
Several pages are now allotted to prove that Mohammed was 
not foretold, and that the prophecies advanced by Mussulmans 
are shown to have no reference whatever to their Prophet. This 
portion of the work is very ably executed ; indeed the wonder 


is, that after its perusal any one could ever again have recourse 
to such arguments. The contents of the Goran are next ex- 
amined and, while it is acknowledged that it inculcates some 
excellent precepts and doctrines, it is held that these are mainly 
taken from the Bible, while the grandest and most important of 
its truths are denied, omitted, or perverted. The teaching that 
pardon is attained through Mohammed and God's mercy, is 
shown to be insufficient; and the sensual rewards, intolerant 
precepts, and blind predomination set forth in the Goran, 
opposed to the dictates of reason, as well as to the express 
teaching of the Gospel. Some canons of correct interpretation 
are laid down, to obviate the far-fetched and unfounded ex- 
planations by means of which our opponents avoid the un- 
favourable conclusions drawn from the contradictions in the 
text of the Goran. Mohammed's character is then brought 
under review; the claim advanced of his miraculous and pro- 
phetical powers is refuted; and the grossness with which he 
indulged his licentious passions held up to deserved reprobation, 
as well as the measures of violence and other worldly means by 
which he spread his religion. The whole closes with a statement 
of the wonderful manner in which the Gospel is now being 
preached to all the world, preparatory to the glorious advent of 
Christ; and with a solemn parting admonition to the Moslem 
reader. As an appendix, are added six narratives of conversion 
in various nations, by way of exemplifying the practical working 
of Christianity. 1 

The Miftdh-ul'Asrtlr, or "Key of Mysteries," is a short 
treatise devoted to the establishment of the divinity of our 
Saviour, and the doctrine of the Trinity. It sets out with 
showing the lofty dignity ascribed in the Goran to Christ, and 
the reverence with which Moslems ought, therefore, to regard 

1 These arc very interesting, but perliaps they might be in parts curtailed 
without diminishing the effect. Indian stories will, in general, be more 
applicable and hetter understood than those of distant nations. Wouldiit not 
be appropriate here to introduce a few instances of Hindoo young men who, in 
their conversion, have displayed so noble a victory over the world, so com- 
plete a subjection to the love of Christ 9 


him: the weakness of the human intellect is then dwelt on, 
which can reason only upon the perceptions we receive, and is 
therefore incompetent for the discovery of subjects regarding 
which we have no experience ; and hence is deduced the neces- 
sity of bending to the revelation of God with humble and 
implicit faith. The* First chapter takes up the proof of our 
Saviour's divinity, and a section is allotted to the evidence 
derived from His own words. This is a very suitable arrangement, 
as Mohammedans always ask first for Christ's own assertions, 
holding that no statements of another party are to be received 
towards the proof of that which our Saviour did not himself 
affect to claim. But why are Gabriel and the Angels* evidence 
admitted into this section ? A Mania vi remarked to us, that the 
Mussulmans would smile at this ; " the Padre/' they will say, 
" set out with proving Christ's divinity from his own words, and 
in the very first page he is obliged to have recourse to other 
testimony ",: it is in reality no great blemish, as the object is to 
usher in the birth of the Saviour whose own words are about to 
be brought forward : but it may be as well not to give any ground 
for the eager hyper-criticism of our antagonists. Our only other 
remark on this section, and on the following which is appro- 
priated to the evidence of the apostles, is that the expression 
" only begotten Son " is not sufficiently insisted upon. 1 This was 
repeatedly assumed by Christ to himself; and to have more 
prominently seized upon it would have strengthened our author's 
position. In other respects this portion of the work is full and 
satisfactory, as well as the third section, which continues the 
argument from the Old Testament. 

The Second chapter is on the Trinity, and its first section con- 

1 We learn from the author of the Saulat MUZ ZaigJiam that "White and 
Williams, Padres," took their stand upon this expression, wlien pressed by 
him as to the ambiguous meaning of the word " Son." It is evident that he 
found it was hard to explain away its meaning, for he has resorted to the 
convenient argument of interpolation ; a subterfuge which the readiness with 
which he brings interpretations and glosses to suit his purpose seldom 
renders necessary. 

The same author fancies that he has discovered an argument against us 
in the expression "first begotten Son," because it was applied by Hoses to 


tains copious selections from the Scriptures to prove that sacred 
mystery and the personality of the Holy Ghost. There are one 
or two passages in the concluding paragraph which we doubt the 
propriety of introducing, especially the threefold blessing which 
Aaron was directed to pronounce over the people of Israel. We 
are aware that this is usually applied to the Trinity, and the tra- 
dition of the Jews regarding the mode in which the priest disposed 
his hand as he gave this beautiful benediction, may strengthen 
the idea. But, at the best, it could hardly be regarded 
as being more than allusive ; and where there is any appearance 
of forcing an application, we had much rather see it omitted. 
It is, at the same time, just to mention that in the following page, 
Pfander clearly explains that the sacred mystery is referred 
to in the Old Testament by allusion alone, and that it can be 
interpreted only by the plain teaching of the New Testament on 
the subject 

The second part of this chapter contains a variety of argu- 
ments, which are intended to reconcile the mystery of Trinity in 
Unity with the conclusions of sound reason. These arguments 
are not entirely satisfactory. Thus we are told that Nature is 
the shadowing forth of eternal principles, and to the pure mind 
is a "ladder" and a "school," whereby we may learn divine 
mysteries so completely, "that if man had not rebelled against 
God and thus perverted and darkened his intellect, he would 
certainly have attained, by reference to creation and the percep- 
tions of his own heart, to a perfect knowledge of God and 
himself, so fully that no written revelation would have been 
necessary." But it seems at least doubtful whether man, even 
in a perfect state, could, without revelation, have discovered the 
doctrine of the Trinity; whereas the mode of expression here 

Israel, by Jeremiah to Ephraim, and in the Gospel to Jesus : he then argues 
that there can be but one "first begotten," therefore the three authors con- 
tradict each other ; and offers to extricate us from the difficulty by this 
interpretation, viz. that Israel was termed "first begot ten," in opposition to 
Ishmael, who did not inherit ; and that the meaning therefore of Christ's 
being called God's first begotten Son, is that he was an Israelite ; and the 
word " only " was added as distinguishing and honouring him beyond all 
other Israelites. To what shifts our interpreter is driven ! 


adopted implies that there are marks in cieation which do plainly 
indicate the Trinity of the Creator. A number of explanatory 
instances or analogies are given, after which their force is 
summed up as follows : " To conclude, it is clearly proved from 
these examples, that nature contains unequivocal marks of the 
existence of the Divine nature in Trinity ; and, in truth, who- 
ever attentively considers them, will perceive that plurality in 
unity is possible." There is no serious objection to bringing 
forward instances of plurality in unity with the object of prov- 
ing it not to be impossible : nay, if care be taken that they are 
not used as direct analogies, they may be beneficial in display- 
ing the inability of man to fathom mysteries infinitely short of 
the sublime doctrine of the Trinity. But the expressions go 
beyond this, and imply that nature directly points out the 
doctrine ; and from this we dissent as unfounded, and as giving 
the adversary a needless advantage. For example, the Circle is 
stated to be an emblem of the Deity, having neither beginning 
nor end; and the fact that trigonometry is the key to its measure- 
ment and comprehension, is represented as an illustration of the 
Trinity by which alone the Divine nature can be understood. 
Such exemplifications only pave the way for our opponents. 
Thus the author of the Saulat uz ZaigUam, in a passage which it 
would be painful to translate, draws the figure of a triangle, and, 
after some contemptuous remarks upon the inequality of its angles, 
adds this cutting scoff, " If this be the way of their arguing, why 
anybody may join the Virgin Mary to the Deity, and drawing a 
square may assert that here is quaternity in unity " ; and to com- 
plete the blasphemy he adds the diagram by way of illustration ! 
To shew the species of reply which is given to one of Ff ander's 
less objectionable analogies, that of the plurality in unity of 
man, we give a further quotation from the same work : 

"First, every composite subject is dependent upon parts, and to be 
dependent is not worthy of the Deity ; second, every such subject is liable 
to change, and cannot therefore be eternal ; third, if any one of man's com- 
ponent parts be taken away, the rest is no longer man ; if God, therefore, bo 
composed of three persons, then when the Son came to this earth the Father 
and the Holy Spirit were no longer God ; and so with the Holy Ghost which 
descended upon earth after the Son's return : in that case the Almighty 


were imperfect and liable to change, which God forbid ! . . . Illustrations 
prove nothing, and if they did the Mohammedans might assert a quaternity 
from the creation consisting of four elements, and the Hindoos from their five 
elements a Deity of five in one." 

Many similar examples of the disadvantages and ridicule to 
which, such a line of argument exposes us might he adduced, 
hut we forbear, and close the subject with an extract from Dr. 
Wardlaw's admirable lectures on the Socinian controversy, the 
sentiments of which are recommended to Mr. Pfander's consider- 
ation : 

"Of the precise import of the term Personality, as applied to a distinc- 
tion in the Divine essence, or of the peculiar nature and mode of that dis- 
tinction, I shall not- presume to attempt conveying to your minds any clear 
conception : I cannot impart to you what I do not possess myself : -and 
convinced as I am that such conception cannot be attained by any, it had 
been well, I think, if such attempts at explanation, by comparisons from 
nature, and otherwise, had never been made. They have afforded to the 
enemies of the doctrine, much unnecessary occasion for unhallowed burlesque 
and blasphemy. The Scriptures simply assure us of the fact : of the mode 
of the fact they offer no explanation. And where the Bible has been silent, 
it becomes us to be silent also ; for when, in such cases, we venture to speak, 
we can only " darken counsel by words without knowledge." The fact, 
and not the manner of it, being that which is revealed, is the proper and 
only object of our faith. We believe that it is so; but how it is so, we are 
not ashamed to say, we do not presume oven to conjecture." 

Pfander proceeds to prove that no intelligent actor can exist 
in absolute unity, as that would imply mere existence ; to which 
the superadditions of intelligence and will must be given, else the 
mere Being remains passive and inactive ; hence the metaphysical 
speculations of the Hindoo, Grecian and Moslem philosophers, are 
shown to have all ended in proving the necessity of the Creator's 
existing in a species of trinity. As far as this argument and a 
display of the absurdities of Sufieism are resorted to, merely to 
shew the conclusion of trinity and unity to which man arrives 
when he reasons on the nature of his Creator, and even to prove 
that plurality in unity is not so inconsistent with sound reason as 
at first appears, we do not object : but the greatest care must be 
observed lest this line of reasoning assume the appearance of 
an obligatory argument, as if, from the nature of things, the 


Deity mmt exist in trinity ; and a few of Pf ander's expressions 
seem calculated to give rise to such an impression. For example, 
lie argues thus : "If you reject the doctrine of trinity, and hold 
to simple unity, you reduce your Creator to an inanimate ex- 
istence" (p. 75); to which the Mohammedan retorts "You 
confuse the terms of personal and metaphysical unity ; the latter 
I do not hold : the former, viz., a Creator whose existence is 
endowed with the attributes of intelligence and will, such is 
my God" ; and the reply would he just, because, according to the 
supposed reasoning fully carried out, the Christian Trinity would 
be not one but three trinities. It must not, however, be under- 
stood that Ffander in any degree intentionally employs the 
argument as an a priori and independent one; on the contrary, 
his declared object is simply to show that the doctrine of 
the Trinity as revealed does not oppose reason, and this he 
repeatedly states. At the same time, we trust that in a future 
edition the line of reasoning and cast of expression will be so far 
altered as to leave no possibility of misconception. 1 

The closing section dwells on the truth that our knowledge of 
God, and hopes of salvation, are bound up in the doctrine of the 
Trinity; and excepting some expressions of the nature just 
noticed, its contents are most valuable. The wonderful love 
of God in effecting man's salvation through His eternal Son, and 
the blessedness of eanctification through the Spirit, are shown to 
be so dependent on the Trinity, that he who denies the Son 
hath not the Father nor the prospect of eternal life. 

The Tartq-ulrHydt, or "Way of Life," takes up a point 
which was but briefly noticed in the Mfadn, namely, the 
nature of sin; to all a subject of extreme importance, but 
especially to the Mohammedan whose loose and imperfect ideas 
of inward sin, lull him to sleep amid the outward ceremonies of 
a shallow faith, and steel him against the attacks of conscience 
and the Gospel. The nature of sin to which, in the Introduction, 
are ascribed all the unhappiness and misery of man, must be 
sought for in God's word. The first portion of the work is 

1 The quotations from Arabic and Persian metaphysical works arc much 
too long. 


accordingly devoted to the Mosaic account of the fall, the effects 
of which are traced in man's corruption. A searching examina- 
tion follows into the real evil of sin, and its heinousness is found 
to consist in the intention : hence, and from copious illustrations 
in Scripture, corrupt desires, even though they do not break out 
into overt acts, are proved to be offensive and deserving punish- 
ment in the sight of God. The erroneous notions of Moslems as 
to venial offences are grounded upon false principles ; and it is 
shewn that all sins, though they may differ in enormity, are alike 
transgressions of the law ; nay, that what appears to us a venial 
sin may, from the intention, be in God's sight one of the most 
aggravated nature. The dreadful effects of sin are next treated 
of. The pains of hell will be chiefly mental and spiritual, 
in opposition to the doctrine of the Goran which depicts, with 
hideous detail, the various species of bodily torments inflicted 
upon the damned. The Mohammedan account of the fall of 
Satan is shewn to be without foundation; the origin of Evil is 
cautiously touched upon ; and the reason of its permission left 
with Almighty wisdom. The whole of this argument is con- 
ducted with great ability. 

The next portion of the work is devoted to the doctrine of 
Pardon, and the means of securing it as held by different religions. 
Among these the Zoroastrian, Hindoo l and Chinese creeds are 
considered; the opportunity being taken advantage of for 
describing the compulsory manner in which Islam banished the 
first of these from Persia. Then the Mohammedan religion is 
weighed in the balance and, like its predecessors, found want- 
ing; its ceremonies are classed in the same category with 
heathen rites and practices; while Mohammed acknowledged 
himself to have been a sinner, and a mere man, incapable of being 
an atonement for the sins of others. The errors of Islam are shewn 
to have originated in mistaken notions of the nature of sin ; 
and the doctrine denounced which lays down tibat the intention 
to commit any sinful act, however rife or fondly cherished, is not 

* In the forthcoming Urdoo edition, the remarks upon the Hindoo 
religion might be expanded so as to form a useful episode for the Hindoos 
who, we may hope, will not be backward in reading the treatise. 


counted by God against a Mussulman, while the mere intention 
to do a good action, is reckoned as one and, if it be carried out, as 
ten good deeds ! Inward corruption and impurity are therefore 
ideas foreign to the Mohammedan creed. The Gospel is now 
introduced. Faith in Jesus is shewn to be the requisite and 
only acceptable accompaniment of repentance ; and the wonderful 
splendour thrown upon the Divine attributes by the love of God, 
in the gift of His Son, is fully dwelt upon. The concluding 
portion displays by copious extracts from Scripture, and with 
great power of language, the blessings conferred by participation 
in this salvation. The springs of the Christian's character and 
happiness, his restoration to God's favour, his delight in prayer, 
his love to all mankind, and his glorious prospects for eternity, 
are described with a fascinating eloquence which cannot fail to 
captivate the reader. There is no space for details, but attention 
may be drawn to the vivid parallel between the heaven of the 
Bible, and the paradise of Mohammed ; a species of argument 
which Pfander frequently adopts with great effect. Thus, after 
dilating at length on the excellencies and the perfections of 
some Christian doctrine, he suddenly brings forward the 
corresponding tenets of the Mohammedan faith, the com- 
parison adding to their native deformity. So again (p. 146), 
after dwelling upon God's mercy and desire that all should 
be saved, the teaching of the Coran, that millions were created 
for damnation, is held up in contrast. Such a course seems more 
effective, and more likely to produce conviction, than suc- 
cessively to bring up each of the Mohammedan doctrines like 
culprits to the bar for separate condemnation. 1 

The Tarlq-ul-Hydt stands unrivalled as an exposition of 
Christian doctrine in the Persian language. It is difficult to say 

1 Such a mode is adopted in the Din Haqq kl tatytq, '' Ail Inquiry into the 
True Religion," a prize essay published three years ago in " refutation of Hin- 
dooism and Mohammedanism and establishment of Christianity. " The most 
important portion refers to the Hindoo religion, the subject being elaborately 
treated, and tho arguments in general conclusive. The part which applies 
to Mohammedanism, though it contains a deal of useful matter, is not so 
likely to be beneficial ; the peremptory tone is likely to excite opposition, 
and some of the arguments are weak, such as the impossibility of keeping 


whether greater ability is displayed in the argumentative 
reasoning of the Mizftn-ul-flaqq, or in the moral discussions of 
the Tartq-ul-Hyut ; the latter, perhaps, from the abstract nature 
of the subject, deserve the highest praise. Each, indeed, has its 
peculiar merit, and with the Miftdh form a whole, placing before 
the Mohammedan almost every point which he is at present pre- 
pared for. To be interested or profited by the Tariq-ul-Hyut, 
' requires, no doubt, a state of mind much in advance of that 
which the ordinary Moslem now possesses, for the subject 
of inward corruption is one foreign to his ideas ; but the day is, 
we trust, approaching, when this will no longer be the case ; 
when the leaven of that knowledge which is even now pervading 
the country will work a mighty change in their feelings and 
ideas ; and then, by the blessing of God, will the heart respond 
with notes of conviction and repentance to the touches of truth 
contained in this volume. Ffander has indeed conferred in 
these books an inestimable boon upon this country ; and we are 
much mistaken if they do not assume the place of standard 
treatises among such as interest themselves in this great 
question, and especially among our native Christians; for 
though primarily adapted to the professors of Islam, their 
contents must always possess a general interest. 

The Tariq-ul-Hyfit displays an uncommon exuberance of 
language and richness of diction, a perfect facility in the 
Persian idiom, and a degree of ease in adopting elegant and 
appropriate illustration, which astonish the Mohammedans 
of this country, and perplex them to account for the Padre's 
accomplishments. 1 Notwithstanding, therefore, the plainness 
with which their errors are laid bare, these treatises are viewed 
with much respect by learned Mohammedans; and that they 

the fast of Rarnz&n and observing the five daily prayers at the po^es, 
which, though to a certain extent true, is too strongly insisted upon. As 
this book has been published in English, no more lengthened notice of it is 
necessary here. 

1 If there is any fault in the style of the Tarty, it is, that some 
of the words are so difficult and uncommon as scarcely to bo known 
even to the learned of this country ; this must be avoided in the Urdoo 


have created a great sensation is evident from the discussions 
which will shortly be mentioned. Some of the learned Maulavis 
of Tonk having seen a copy of the Mizdn, addressed a note to 
its author, soliciting a further supply of what they term "a 
wonderful production." 1 

The Mujtaliid (Shiea Apologist) of Lucknow, in acknowledging 
the receipt of Pfander's four books, confesses 

that the style of these delightful treatises differs so completely from 
that hitherto adopted by Christian writers, that he strongly suspected 
some accomplished Persian of having, from worldly motives, assisted in their 
composition, for no such charms or merit had heretofore appeared in any 
writing of the Padres. 

And his sense of their merit was proved by the threat of a 
refutation. The surmise of the celebrated critic is sufficiently 
amusing ; in correcting, indeed, and polishing the style of his 
books, Ffander did avail himself of the services of a converted 
Mussulman, who, born an Armenian, was, when a boy, carried off 
by robbers, and, having been sold to a Persian nobleman, was by 
him educated as his MunshL Pfander had to tutor both himself 
and this assistant in the language ; and the marked superiority in 
the style of the Tartq, his latest composition, shows what rapid 
progress he was attaining in the beauties of the Persian language. 
The fourth work referred to above by the Apologist of Luck- 
now, is "The Tree of life," a small but useful Urdoo tract con- 
taining a copious selection from Scripture, illustrative of the 
Divine perfections and the Christian code of morals. Pfander 
has also composed a short treatise in English, on the " Nature of 
Mohammedanism," which is recommended to the perusal of all 
who are interested in the controversy. 

It is difficult to say how the Mfadn was regarded in Persia. 
Its distribution, in which great caution was required, was com- 
menced just as the Mission was called away ; but there is reason 
to suppose that, notwithstanding the bigotry of the Persians, it 
was liked and perused by them with interest. When on his way 
to India, Pfander fell in with two respectable Persians, who 
made inquiries about the book and its author, and stated that the 


Governor of Casbin ha received two copies, the contents of 
which had excited great attention. It was suspected by them to 
be the work of some renegade Mohammedan. That the countries 
about Kabul and Herat are prepared to peruse and receive benefit 
from it, is clear from the evidence of an Officer who had ample 
opportunities of forming a correct judgment. Of the Mizdn he 
writes, that, during the period of four years' residence in that 

lie had several opportunities of proving the value of the work in ques- 
tion, having found in it many arguments for the truth of Christianity, 
which the Mussulmans, with whom he conversed, were unable to refute in a 
truly Christian spirit, and whenever shewn to the followers of Islam, always 
excited much attention, so much so that I could,- had such a course not 
been at variance with the known wishes of the Government, have dis- 
tributed, with every prospect of a happy result, many copies among those 
who would use them. 

Unable to give, I yet considered myself at liberty to show the work to 
those Afghans who came to my house from time to 'time. The conversation, 
which generally turned on the subject of religion, afforded me opportunities 
for showing the Persian N. Testament, and Mfedn-ul'Hagq, and often I have 
been entreated to lend this book for a more careful perusal. Next to the 
New Testament itself, it is the book most likely to be of use amongst Mo- 
hammedans. The contrast between Christianity and the religion of Islam is 
made so strong and in such moderate language, that it seemed to create an 
anxiety for future inquiry and investigation. 

The Jews, too, of Kabul, were generally anxious to obtain copies, and 
aa I considered the prohibition did not extend to them with such force, I on 
one occasion lent a copy of the work to the head of their tribe, but had con- 
siderable difficulty in recovering it, which I soon became anxious to do, on 
finding the deep interest it excited. To use their own expression, "the 
Mtedn-iil-ffaqq put words into their mouth, and enabled them to speak out 
to Mohammedans, which before they had not been able to do. In my 
humble opinion, the work is so valuable, that it should be translated into 
Urdoo, Arabic, and every language in use with Mohammedans." 

But it will be asked what effect these productions have had 
upon the native mind in India? Pfander distributed copies very 
extensively, with a request that the arguments should be atten- 
tively considered, and if possible replied to. The gauntlet, thus 
thrown down before Mohammedan society in the North-Western 
Provinces, has been taken up by one or two distinguished 


opponents, who have hitherto treated with a smile of contempt 
the puny attacks made against their faith. While we write, the 
promised refutation of the Shiea Apologist, Maulavi Syud Ali, 
has issued from the press of Lucknow as a thick octavo volume, 
not yet seen by us. 1 

A long and protracted controversy was carried on in Urdoo 
by Pfander with two Mohammedans, Syud Eehmat Ali and 
Mohammed Kazini Ali, 2 the latter being the leading writer. 
It began in 1842, and lasted for two or three years; there 
are seven epistles, which gradually increase in length, the 
last containing 147 closely-written pages. The disputant sets 
out with the text, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of 
the house of Israel " ; and asserting that our Saviour here and 
elsewhere declared that His mission extended only to the Jews, 
challenges his opponent to prove its universality, and affects 
virtuous indignation at our missionaries practising so foul a de- 
ception as to attempt conversion to an obsolete religion intended 
only for the Jews. Pfander had here to argue at a disadvantage 
against the Moslem's preconceived notion that Christ's mission 
was, like that of other prophets, fully developed during His life; 
he had to concede that in one sense He was primarily sent to the 
Jews, and that the universality of His faith was not proclaimed 
till after His Ascension ; still, a number of passages which clearly 
establish the doctrine, are quoted from our Saviour's own dis- 
courses, and the apostles' teaching is added as conclusive on the 
subject. K&zim Ali's objections display the perversity and help- 
less blindness of the followers of Islam. To all assertions of 
Christ Himself made before His Ascension, he objects that they 
contradict the above verse, and His own directions to the Seventy, 
To the final command " Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations," 
he objects that it is immediately preceded by a clause which 
destroys dependence on it, namely, "but some doubted." The 
Apostles' declarations are treated as contradictory, and as in- 

1 [An account of it is given at the end of this article.] 

3 These writers are, we believe, Vakeels in the civil court at Agra ; Kfoim 
Ali seems to he possessed of some intelligence and sharpness, but his talents 
do not rise above mediocrity. 



sufficient to prove a doctrine which their Master Himself is 
alleged not to have held. When particularly hard pressed, an 
easy refuge is obtained behind the charge of corruption, of which 
the smallest apparent discrepancy is regarded as full and satisfac- 
tory proof. The controversy then branches out into the general 
subject, embracing the claim of the Apostles to inspiration; the 
Divinity of Christ j the prophecies applied by Mohammedans to 
their Prophet, etc. But Kazim All's perversity surpasses that of 
the most of his brethren : he assumes the most fanciful interpreta- 
tions, and insists that they can be the only correct ones, however 
absurd and obstinately perverted they may have been proved. 1 
In the same spirit the plainest interpretations are constantly 
ascribed with irony to Pfander's extraordinary acuteness, and 
characterised as phantoms of his imagination. Pfander soon per- 
ceived what a bully he had to deal with, and in his second and 
third letters threatened to close the controversy if more impartial- 
ity were not shewn by his antagonists, K&zim All's fourth letter 
exceeded its predecessors in irrational bigotry, and its style began 
to descend to petulant and offensive remarks. Pfander accord- 
ingly carried his threat into execution, and refused to reply 
unless umpires were selected to decide whether certain points had 
not been satisfactorily proved; to this K&zim Ali would not 
accede, and here the matter ended. The Mohammedan argument 
is conducted with some ability and much subtilty; and a BUT- 

1 For instance, " Out of Zion shall go forth the Law and the Word of the 
Lord from Jerusalem," the law left Jerusalem, and where else can it be pre- 
tended to have migrated but to Mecca ? The passage, " He shall not cry, 
nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street," refers to Ma- 
hommed, and it cannot apply to Christ, who "cried" on the cross. In 
endeavouring to prove the corruption of the Scriptures, he says, " You ask, 
what object had the Christians in corrupting the notices of Mohammed ? 
What 1 is it no object to eat pork and drink wine ; to avoid praying five 
times a day, and fast for a month in the year I " Shortly after he says, 
" I do not mean to affirm that the Scriptures were corrupted in later ages 
when Christians were numerous and copies multiplied ; no, it was in the 
early ages of the Apostles when there were but few to detect the change " : 
he forgets that the time he alludes to was more than 500 years prior to the 
existence of the motives and actions he had before supposed. 


prising number of passages both from the Old and New Testa- 
ments are adduced; but the whole is guided by a determined 
wrong-headedness, which adopts the most fallacious and incon- 
clusive reasoning merely because it ends favourably, and refuses 
to see its errors, however plainly pointed out. This controversy 
must have proved a severe trial to Pfander's temper; and if 
flippant contradictions, false insinuations, and bitter scoffs, may 
have occasionally led him to severe remarks, it is not to be 
wondered at; on the contrary, we are surprised at the calm and 
candid manner which he preserved throughout. We should like 
to see the whole printed with appropriate remarks ; but Pf ander 
is, perhaps, wise in keeping back any further publication until 
he shall have seen his adversaries' replies; then, we understand, 
he intends to come forward with a general and complete re- 

Another discussion, contained in a series of twenty-two letters 
which passed between Pfander and Maulavi Syud Ali Hassan 1 
of Agra, has gained greater celebrity, from its having been 
printed in the Kliair Kliali Hind. 2 As a translation of this 
controversy (though abounding with mistakes) has appeared 
in the romanised version of that paper, our notice of its contents 
shall be very limited. After an amusing parley, in which the 
Maulavi bargains for the titles of respect by which his Prophet 
and Goran are to be mentioned, he introduces his argument in 
the ninth letter, by defining two species of improbability, 
logical and experimental; and then he puts this curious 
question, "If by rejecting an experimental, you are forced to 
believe a logical impossibility, what course does reason recom- 

1 Syud Ali Hassan is a man of very superior abilities, and holds a high 
place in Mohammedan society for attainments and learning. He is an officer 
of some standing in the Sudder Dewany Adalut, N.-W. P. 

3 This is a useful little monthly paper, published in Urdoo by the mission 
at Mirzapore : as it often languishes for want of matter, why do not the 
missionaries of other stations contribute an occasional article ? it is hard for 
the editor to he reduced to the necessity of copying the Government Gazette 
into its columns : much like printing the Acts of Parliament in a missionary 
periodical or monthly journal. 


mend I" 1 Pf ander, much against his will, is thus plunged among 
impossibilities; he acknowledges that where a logical impossi- 
bility is really established, it must cancel every supposition involved 
in it ; but he denies the sovereignty of man's reason to determine 
what are absolute impossibilities ; and he demurs to the argument 
altogether as being foreign to the subject in hand. The Maulavi, 
however, sticks manfully by his first position, asserting that 
if the doctrine of impossibilities be not within man's reason, and 
be not settled at the outset, all attempts at reasoning are absurd. 
After several futile endeavours on Pfander's part to draw back 
the Maulavi to the proofs of Christianity, and repeatedly chal- 
lenging him to impugn the reasoning of his published works, 
the controversy falls to the ground. The Maulavi's closing letter 
afforded Pf ander an opportunity of adding a valuable note upon 
the use and abuse of reason in matters of religion. This con- 
troversy possesses a peculiar interest, because the line of reasoning 
taken by the Maulavi is that which even sensible and intelligent 
Mussulmans generally adopt. Human reason is used or rather 
misused as a sovereign judge, and the higher possibilities of 
Divine interference are thereby put aside. The controversy, how- 
ever, is not closed, for All Hassan is now printing a work at Luck- 
now in refutation of Christianity and in defence of the Goran, 
at which he has been labouring for fifteen years, and which is, 
by the way, to contain a full reply to the Mfadn as well as to 
the Din Haqq. 

We must now take leave of Pfander's writings, and we do so 
with regret and admiration. Let him not forget the singular 
advantages and talents he possesses, nor abandon his post of 
champion of Christianity against the Mohammedans. We are 
sure, if God spare him, that he will soon be again in the field, 
and we heartily wish him, God-speed in this most momentous 

1 In the fourteenth letter he illustrates his position by the following 
example: " If not to credit the fact of a bullock having spoken, imply 
belief in an infinitesimal series or in the co-existence of contraries, which 
impossibility must be rejected?" Pfander's faculties must have been sadly 
puzzled to make out the learned Maulavi's meaning. 


The most popular work against Christianity in the North- 
West Provinces is at present the Saulat uz Zaigham, or "Lion's 
Onset," a rambling, desultory attack, full of spite and animosity, 
and careless as to the correctness of its premises, but written in 
a vigorous and attractive style. An abridgment of it in Urdoo 
has gained great currency among the Mohammedans, and as a 
reply to it has just issued from the press, our readers will 
probably be interested to know the character and merits of both 
books. The Kliuldsa i Saulat uz Zaigham was written thirteen 
years ago, but was only printed within the last three years. 
The object, as described in the concluding paragraph, is as 
follows : 

In former times when Christians were not in power, and the noisy violence 
of their abrogated religion was therefore concealed, our Professors seldom 
turned their thoughts towards its refutation ; hut upon the learned of this 
age it is incumbent as a sacred duty, to use every endeavour for over- 
turning their faith, otherwise these people by insidious efforts will gradually 
mislead whole multitudes. And be not discouraged by the knowledge that 
such attempts will be thrown away upon the infidels themselves ; for when 
it became generally known that I had written the S&ulat uz Zaigliam, 
people began to dispute with the Padres, White and Williams, and with me, 
and in the end, by God's assistance, I overcame them ; and the effect was 
that, of their friends, who had turned Christians, two oame to me and 
resumed the Mohammedan faith. Then praise be to God, the Lord of both 

The chief peculiarities of this treatise are the audacity with 
which lengthened extracts from the Bible are, by the facile use of 
perverse application, turned into predictions of Mohammed. It is 
difficult, perhaps, to say how far many of these may not be the lonti 
fide convictions of a sincere mind searching after the confirmation 
of what it deems the true faith ; but some of the fancies are so 
conceited and puerile, some so extravagantly absurd, that the 
most extensive charity will hardly admit their sincerity. Thus, 
not only is every mention of armies, fear, terror, conquest, 
goodness or dominion, intended for Mohammed and nobody 
else, but the Prophet's very horses, swords and arrows were 
prefigured, nay, his love of perfumes and hatred of garlick and 
onions were not overlooked. The " White stone " of the Eevela- 
tions must mean the famous stone given by Gabriel to Mohammed, 


or else it is the Black stone of the Caaba, which once was white j* 
and, who could have been predicted to walk in " white garments," 
but our Prophet who was so fond of them ? The descendants of 
Ishmael inherit every promise intended for the Israelites; and 
" more are the children of the desolate (i.e. of Hagar), than of the 
married wife," viz. Sarah (Isa. liv. 1). It is Mecca that was 
"forsaken," but is now "an eternal excellency, the joy of many 
generations" (Isa. Ix. 15). Again, in the parable of the sower, 
the three unfruitful species of seed are the Greeks, Jews and 
Christians j they that produced an hundredfold, the Moham- 
medans; the "tares" are the scoffing infidels who were slain in 
the battle of Bedr, and fell into the furnace of hell-fire; the 
"righteous" are the Mohammedans, "who shone forth as the 
sun." 1 In the parable of the vineyard, the husbandmen are the 
Jews, who are said to have killed Christ^ who was called 2 the 
Son of God; the garden was therefore taken from them and 
given to the Arabs; on hearing this, the Jews expressed their 
astonishment; on which Jesus bade them not to be surprised, 
for Isaiah had told them this long ago, when he said, "The stone 
which the builders rejected, i.e. the despised Ishmaelites, will 
become the head of the comer; and thus in Mohammed will 
be fulfilled the blessing promised to Abraham." Such are the 
gratuitous assumptions to which the Moslems descend. The dis- 
quisition on the Fdrltalete, or Holy Spirit, are fair specimens of 
the sophistry of the Mussulmans,- a counterpart of the Jews 
who opposed Paul "contradicting and blaspheming." Various 
other topics are taken up, but are all treated in the same arrogant 
and wayward manner. Indeed, the abusive and insulting language 

1 In the parable of the talents, the king is Christ, the enemies the Jews, 
and the Christians who made good use of their talents, are those who 
doubled them by bolioving on Mohammed. The "morning star," of the 
Eevelations, is the Goran, or perhaps Friday (the Mohammedan sacred 
day), which is SMar, or the day of Ferns the morning star ; or Christ 
may have called himself so, as being the harbinger of Mohammed his 

3 By the use of the two words in italics, he cleverly avoids the conclusion 
which might be drawn from this passage of Christ's having been actually 
crucified, and of his being the Son of God. 


made use of in this treatise towards the blessed Saviour, cannot 
but cut the Christian to the heart 

The reply by Mr. Eankin, of the American mission at Fut- 
tehgurh, is a creditable performance. It does not take up the 
writer's positions in detail, but classes them under several heads. 
It is good as far as it goes; but the style is monotonous 1 and 
meagre, and the author wants the vigorous, lucid, and attractive 
language of his opponent, to gain a favourable audience for his 
arguments. Nor does he sufficiently descend into particulars. 
However absurd many of these may be, it is proper that they 
should all have a reply : because the work is in the hands of so 
many, and the ignorance of the vast majority so great, that they 
will not perceive the fallacies until they are plainly pointed out. 
The frequent and copious extracts from the Bible which occur in 
almost every page of the Saulat, would have afforded Mr. Bankin 

1 The stops, commas, colons, and notes of interrogation must sadly 
puzzle the Mohammedan reader, and probably raise a contemptuous smile : 
and what is the use of them ? Good TTrdoo is perfectly intelligible without 
stops, and if the style be bad and obscure, why, then, they only add to the 
reader's difficulty. The star as a stop is quite sufficient, and even that 
should be used sparingly. Let us consult the tastes and adapt our writings 
to the habits and ideas of our readers : if we do not, we only defeat our own 
object ; for inconsiderable as such things may appear to us, the unfavourable 
effect upon their minds is immense. A late Review on "the French Lake," 
well described the feeling of repugnance entertained by Oriental nations 
towards foreign appearances ; a smart Frenchman is there stated to be the 
very quintessence of aversion and contempt of the believer, who points to 
him in the streets, " Look, my child, to what you would come, if you were to 
deny the Prophet and become an infidel ! " Adopt the native publications as 
your model : if you cannot afford to lithograph, at all events consult the 
habits of your readers, and keep as close to their favourite and long-rooted 
customs as possible ; and above all, avoid with the utmost caution, every thing 
foreign either in style or appearance. If you require notes, throw them into 
the lateral margin, and not to the bottom of the page with distracting marks 
of reference as in the Din ffaqgr. Many excellent publications have issued 
from the Allahabad press, especially a series of valuable tracts by the Rev. 
Mr. Wilson, whose introduction to the Cdran was noticed in a former 
number : but most of them labour under the disadvantages we have been 
noticing. If our adversaries can afford to lithograph, why cannot we? 
Pfander's publications are a model in their appearance, as well as their contents. 


arguments ready to his hand ; and the concessions of the adversary 
in their explanation, would form materials for truthful conclusions. 
Indeed, we have never seen so favourable an opportunity of 
closing upon the antagonist with an argumentum ad hominem. 
The passages which he has himself brought forward cannot again 
be withdrawn by him on the plea of interpolation, and sufficient 
has been admitted in their interpretation, to overthrow him on his 
own ground. 

In examining this controversy, we have gone sufficiently into 
details, to show that Henry Martyn's description of the Persian is 
no less applicable to the Indian Mohammedan ; he is a compound 
of ignorance and bigotry ; and all access to the one is hedged up 
by the other. That we may learn how best to treat this melan- 
choly state of mind, there is no more useful lesson than the careful 
perusal of these controversial tracts. Besides acquiring a know- 
ledge of the subject in all its bearings, a thorough acquaintance 
with the Mohammedan ideas and tenets, and familiarity with their 
modes of polemical reasoning, there is a valuable lesson to be 
gained, namely, experience to avoid their faults. Arguments may 
reach to demonstration, and yet they may not force conviction : 
that depends upon causes, some of which may be materially 
modified by us. Cautious advances, breathing kindness and love, 
may lessen the prejudices of our opponents, while unguarded ex- 
pressions and imprudent severity must increase and tend to render 
them insurmountable. Hence the paramount necessity for all 
engaged in this work to be intimately acquainted not merely with 
the rules of logic and requirements of sound reason, but with the 
human heart, with all those springs of feeling, interest, affection, 
and desire, which are so closely blended with conviction. This 
must be sought for by the patient study of human nature, and 
much will be gained if each tries his own heart in the crucible of 
the Saulat us Zatgham. What effect does the haughty demean- 
our and abusive languagjp of the Moslem have upon you other 
than to rouse angry and contemptuous feelings) His blasphemy 
against the Holy Ghost* and sneers at all we hold sacred, above 
all, the dishonour which he puts on the Founder of our faith by 


derogatory insinuations and opprobrious epithets, does not all 
this cut us to the quick, and make us cling the closer to those 
objects which are enshrined in our affections ? And must not 
similar language stir up similar feelings in the Mussulman bosom ^ 
We all know what a strong principle nationality is, and how easily 
it is wounded ; now the Mohammedan's is a nationality of faith, 
and is equally injured by opprobrious imputation against his 
religion. Their prejudices are imbibed with their mother's milk, 
nourished in childhood by the marvellous tales of their Prophet 
and their saints, and welded into an impenetrable system by the 
constantly recurring ceremonies, which are interwoven with their 
very existence. We must also bear in mind the prescriptive hold 
which their religion has upon them. How many of our own 
countrymen profess Christianity for no better reason than that 
it was the religion of their forefathers ; and do we not ourselves 
feel how much comfort and support are frequently derived from a 
reflection upon the numberless learned and illustrious characters 
who have adorned the Christian faith 1 Now, reverence for their 
cloud of witnesses and fathers must be no less an overpowering 
consideration and a comfort and support with many, than it is 
with us. The fact that Islam has not only stood for thirteen 
centuries, but has expanded and progressed, and has seldom 
cowered before its present foe, must be a strong and satisfactory 
reflection to our opponents. Again, we find with them a religious 
nobility founded on the fact that Islam has been the pure and 
unbroken creed of their ancestors through a succession of genera- 
tions running up to the time of their Prophet. ' How deep-rooted 
must be those* feelings of pride, of high and ancient parentage 
inwrought with a faith deemed by them so noble, so unparalleled ; 
a faith which affords salvation to all mankind, and which 
reflects its glory and lustre upon them ! If anywhere we are to 
expect prejudice, anywhere to make allowance for it, surely it 
must be here. Let all our arguments, then, be framed, all our 
expressions selected, with these feelings and prejudices prominently 
in our view ; let iihere be no unnecessary wounding of the national 
feeling, no harsh epithets, no irritating insinuations. We press 
this point with the greater earnestness, because the provoking 


insinuations, gratuitous severity, and supercilious language which 
we sometimes meet with are the most powerful adversaries of 
conviction. Let us not, however, be mistaken; we are boldly 
and unflinchingly to declare the message and truth of the Gospel, 
and the incompatibility of the Moslem faith with it, but it must 
be done with prudence, with kindness, with love. The mission- 
ary of the Cross will find it a difficult thing in the heat of con- 
troversy, when his own feelings are wounded in the tenderest 
point, when his Saviour is afresh buffeted in his presence, to 
command his temper and his words ; and yet it is absolutely 
necessary, as well for the exemplification of the Christian charac- 
ter as for success. Finally, there are two lessons we should learn 
from this controversy. The first is, never to employ a weak 
argument ; for the effect generally is most disadvantageous to our 
position, and we may be certain that it will not escape the eagle 
eye of our adversary, who will leave all our stronger reasoning in 
order to expose the fallacy of the weaker. The second is, never 
to force a prophecy ; fanciful and far-fetched interpretations must 
be studiously avoided by ourselves, if we wish with any consist- 
ency to deny those of the Mohammedans : let our conclusions 
be always the clear, unforced, unquestionable, deductions of 

We cannot close the subject without referring to an argument 
which is strongly urged by all the Mohammedan writers we have 
been reviewing, and which, if proved, would establish the divine 
origin of Islam ; more especially as one of its most able supporters 
is a clergyman of the Church of England. Mr. Forster, in his 
Moliammedamsm Unveiled, proposes to explain the success of 
that creed, which he holds has never been satisfactorily accounted 
for, by considering it the fulfilment of the blessing promised to 
Abraham for IshmaePs seed. 1 How eagerly would our Maulavis 
welcome Mr. Forster ! Ahmed, Mahommed Euza, K&dm Ali, 
and the author of the Sariat w Zaigham, all adopt the very 
same lino of reasoning, namely, that the blessing of Ishmael is 
fulfilled in Mohammed, that the twelve princes are the twelve 
1 Gen. xvii. 20. 


Imams, and the " innumerable multitude " l Mussulman believers. 
Pfander, Rankin, and all our other writers, deny any spiritual 
fulfilment of the promise, and hold that it was fulfilled in the 
rapid increase of Ishmael's posterity and the twelve princes men- 
tioned in Gen. xxv. Does Mr. Forster, then, acknowledge the 
truth of Mohammedanism ? Oh no j he styles it a " false and 
spurious revelation," a " baleful superstition," and its author an 
" imposter, earthly, sensual, devilish, beyond even the licence of 
his own licentious creed." Let us see, then, how he would make 
out this imposture to be the Messing promised by God to Abraham j 
we shall give his views in his own words, and beg of the reader to 
remark how he blends a spiritual with a temporal meaning, the 
accomplishment of prophecy with the fulfilment of a promise : 

" The basis of the present argument is laid in the existence of a prophetic 
promise to Abraham, in behalf of his sons Isaac and Ishmael. By the terms 
of this promise, a blessing is annexed to the posterity of each, and on 
Ishmael as well as on Isaac this blessing is pronounced, because he was 
Abraham's seed, and as a special marie of Divine favour. This last considera- 
tion is worth attending to ; since a promise to Ishmael, thus connected by 
Jehovah Himself with his descent from the faithful, seems to lead the mind 
naturally beyond the idea of a mere temporal fulfilment. Some sufficient 
fulfilment, we are certainly authorised and bound to expect for each branch 
of tjie original promise. The striking literal correspondence between the 
terms of its two parts appears to sanction the further expectation of an 
analogy equally strong between the respective fulfilments : which expecta- 
tion, moreover, receives fresh warrant from the fact, that the promise in 
behalf of Ishmael was granted in answer to a prayer of Abraham, in which ho 
implored for Ishmael the blessing reserved for Isaac " (p. 87). The promises 
thus parallel are found actually to have had a parallel " fulfilment, as the 
facts of the case so strongly indicate, in the rise and success of Mohammed, 
and in the temporal and spiritual establishment of the Mohammedan super- 
stition. . . . The facts of the analogy are incontrovertible ; they require to 
be solved ; and they admit of but the one satisfactory solution. We have 
only to receive the original promise to Abraham, according to the terms of 
it, as germinant and parallel in both its parts ; and to recognise in Chris- 
tianity and Mohammedanism its twofold fulfilment, and the whole doubts 
and difficulties of the question disappear " (p. 89). 

In arguing the existence of a spiritual blessing for Ishmael, 
great stress is laid on its being the answer to Abraham's prayer. 
1 Gen. xvi. 10. 


But whatever was the nature of the petition, God vouchsafed 
only a temporal blessing. Forster's reasoning hangs here upon a 
very slender thread, and yet upon that is suspended the whole of 
his argument ! he says, the covenant of Ishmael, 

"Would seem, as well from the manner of its announcement, as 
from the general analogy of character plainly intended by the parallel 
terms of the two covenants, to contain a certain real, though low and 
subordinate, spiritual application. Indeed that Abraham should have 
offered up the petition that Ishmael might live in the light of God's 
countenance, and under a .Divine blessing and protection (a petition 
certainly implied by the prayer that he might live before Jehovah, 
and inherit the promise granted in favour of Isaac), may be received as 
conclusive and moral evidence on this point ; for a blessing of a merely 
temporal nature was little likely to be thus sought by 'the father of the 
faithful ' ; in whose 63*68 things temporal appear invariably to have been 
held in little estimation " (p. 119). 

Assuming thus, the whole point at issue, he proceeds : 

"In the case of Isaac, we know the precise manner and steps of the 
accomplishment ; and in our knowledge of this detail, possess the clue for 
investigating the analogous accomplishment, in the case of Ishmael. It 
is requisite only, that the apparent historical fulfilments of the covenant 
of Ishmael shall be found on examination to correspond with the ascer- 
tained historical fulfilments of the covenant of Isaac, and if there be 
any force in the scriptural analogy established between those brethren, 
the demonstration aimed at in these pages must be considered complete" 
(p. 132). 

Forster's ideas, however, of a promised blessing, and its fulfil- 
ment, are very singular. He assumes that because Hagar was 
a bondswoman, and Ishmael illegitimate, the religion of their 
descendants must partake of the qualities of both; in his own 

" If from Isaac was to spring the true religion ; from Ishmael there 
might be expected to arise as a counterpart, a spurious faith. If the true 
Messiah, the descendant of Isaac, and who, like him, came by promise, was 
to be the founder of the one creed ; a counterfeit Messiah, the descendant of 
Ishmael, and who, like him, should come ivithout promise, could be the 
only appropriate founder of the other" (p. 90). And again, "Prophecy 
cannot be supposed to recognise in Ishmael, the child of the flesh, the son 
of the bondwoman, the illegitimate seed, anything higher than the fore- 


father of a false prophet, and the source of a spurious faith" "the arch, 
antitype of all preceding false Christs," " tho spurious Messiah. Moham- 
med "(pp. 164 and 140). 

What ! a spurious faith, a false prophet, a counterfeit Messiah, 
the fulfilment of a promised blessing ! Is this the mode in which 
God fulfils His promises? To discover a parallel between Christi- 
anity and this "spurious revelation," is the object of the whole 
book, and it is very ably dealt with by a succession of curious 
analogies in the prophetical anticipations, 1 morality, doctrine, 
ritual, scriptures, heresies, crusades, and civilisation of Moham- 
medanism, Judaism and Christianity. These analogies prove 
nothing, because the foundation of the argument, as we have 
shown, is unsound ; but they contain a vast fund of useful in- 
formation, which will well repay the trouble of a perusal. 

The nature of Forster's argument is such that upon approaching 
it, he is always led into confusion or inconsistency. Thus he 
acknowledges that the lesser blessing of Ishmael was " manifestly 
of a temporal nature"; yet he hence deduces that, " through the 
Gospel and the Goran, the promise to Abraham, continually 
advanced towards its fulfilment, in the posterity of his sons, until 
of these two brethren was the whole earth overspread " ; we have 
here the temporal confused with a spiritual blessing. Again he 
says, "the one was the covenant of the spirit; the other the 
covenant of the flesh, . . . the arm of flesh therefore was the 
natural and proper weapon for its enforcement." It is acknow- 
ledged to be "a covenant of the flesh," then why attempt to 
make it spiritual) Again, "the grand feature in the promise 
concerning Isaac was, that in Ms seed all the nations of the earth 
should be blessqd"; and the responding feature in the parallel 

1 Some of the historical analogies are sufficiently far-fetched ; for instance, 
Christianity rose in Judea, while Islam made that one of its earliest conquests. 
Jerusalem was the site of the Jewish, temple, and it is that of the mosque of 
Omar. Constantinople was the imperial metropolis, and the cathedral of St. 
Sophia the central fane of eastern Christianity ; but that city is now the 
metropolis of Mohammedans, and the cathedral a mosque. " Thrte in 
company in flight to Egypt, Joseph, Mary, Jesus ; Gabriel their conductor : 
Three in company in flight to Medina, Mohammed, Abubeker, Amer Ebn 
Fohaira ; Gabriel their pretended conductor." 


promise respecting Ishmael, that he should dwell in the presence of 
all 7iis brethren " ; the former, it is contended, was fulfilled in 
Christianity, the latter, in Mohammedanism. There is no 
"responding feature" here; Mohammedanism may be the 
accomplishment of a prophecy, but that is a very different thing 
from the fulfilment of a promise. Forster would make circum- 
cision to "be equally at the root of both parts of the original 
covenant, and to be the common bond of a certain spiritual rela- 
tion, 'to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee'; and 
we can only tell of the force of this application to Ishmael by an 
investigation of RESULTS." This argument, however, proves a great 
deal too much, as it would extend to the whole of Abraham's 
seed, including the children of Ketura, to whom no special 
spiritual blessing was accorded. "Isaac becomes the father of 
the true faith ; Ishmael, of a spurious imitation of it." But a 
"spurious imitation" is no fulfilment; and if Islam is actually 
the fulfilment of the promise, it cannot be spurious, but must be 
acknowledged a divine faith. The fabric is based upon a contra- 

It frequently falls in with Forster's views to prove Islam 
a blessing, and then it is curious to observe how he avoids com- 
paring it with the Gospel. Thus he says that when we " submit 
Mohammedanism to a comparison with Christianity, exclusively 
of Judaism, we are not trying it by the proper and equitable 
standard ; ... for it is no more than the barest justice, that the 
parts of it derived from the law of Moses should be tried by that 
law, instead of being condemned without reserve or discrimination, 
by another rule, the infinitely perfect law of Christ." But 
surely there can be no reason why his creed should not be tried 
and condemned by that faith which its founder supplanted, and 
in room of which he substituted his own. Again, " some of the 
most objectionable features of his moral law, instead of being, as 
heretofore, tried and condemned by the perfect rule of the Gospel, 
would seem entitled to be judged by reference to the source whence 
it is derived, and the standard to which it appeals" The source 
from whence he professes to derive his law is God Himself : why 
then adopt a lower standard than His word 1 


Elsewhere he says : 

"The intrinsic merits of Mohammedanism, while utterly beneath com- 
parison with the only true revelation, are yet confessedly superior to those of 
every other religious system which has obtained among men. ... As 
opposed to the Gospel, indeed, Mohammedanism must be considered only as 
a curse ; but as the pre-appointed scourge of heresy and heathenism, as 
cleansing the world from the gross pollutions of idolatry, and as preparing 
the way for the reception of a purer faith, it may well be regarded as a 

On a nearer inspection, we fear that lie would have modified this 
praise: their false worship opposes obstacles to conversion, 
greater even than those of heathenism itself. 

As to ike prospective views of Mohammedanism, Mr. Forster's 
expectations are glowing in the extreme. After expatiating on 
the points common to both creeds, he proceeds : 
"Suppose these, and similar positions, plainly deducible from the Goran 
and its commentators, once brought clearly and conclusively to elucidate the 
authoritative record of Scripture, by men whose zeal shall shine forth on the 
benighted East, sustained by extensive knowledge, and tempered by a wise 
discretion, while their walk among men forms that best of commentaries, 
a living one, on the truth and power of these doctrines ; suppose episcopal 
Christianity, in a word, one day taught and exemplified in Asia, as it was 
originally taught and exemplified in the Apostolic times, and who, that 
reflects on the whole providential history and relationship of the two 
religions, can doubt the eventful result throughout the Mohammedan world 3 " 
(vol. i. p. 400). "And thus out of the most deadly and devastating apostasy 
with which the justice of Heaven ever visited the sins of men, does the 
mercy of God seem, all along, to have been secretly, but effectually, prepar- 
* ing the instrumental means for the glorious re-edification of our Eastern 
Sion, by the final bringing in of Jew, Mohammedan and Gentile, to the 
church and kingdom of the Gospel 9 ' (vol. ii. p. 371). 

These are bright visions indeed; and may God of His infinite 
mercy grant them a speedy fulfilment : but we fear they are not 
borne out by the premises. Alas ! there is nothing in Islam 
which warrants us in saying that it tends towards Christianity. 
At first sight, indeed, we appear to have many advantages in the 
contest ; we have no infidel views to oppose ; the existence of sin, 
and its future punishment, are allowed ; the necessity of a revela- 
tion, and even the Divine origin of the Old and New Testament 
dispensations, are conceded; the most of the attributes of God, 


the immaculate conception of Christ, and the miracles which 
attested His mission, aie all admitted. The Mohammedans 
believe a Gospel, but it is not ours : they worship a God, but not 
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ : they acknowledge 
a Jesus, but not Him who was so called, because He should save 
His people from their sins. Hear Mirza Ibrahim : 

"For we are not sure of the miracles of that Moses and Jesus, of whom 
the Jews and Christians speak ; and who as they say did not believe in the 
mission of our Prophet ; but we speak of the miracles of that Moses and 
Jesus, who have given their testimony to the mission of Mohammed : and 
how great is the difference between them when viewed in these different 
lights ! Let it not be said that the persons are the same in both cases. We 
believe in these prophets, in consequence of their being described in the 
Co ran, and not as described by the Jews and Christians." (CM. Tracts, 
p. 88.) 

Yes, it must be borne in mind, that it is simply as they are 
mentioned in the Coran, and only because they are mentioned 
there, that the Moslem believes in the prophets and the Bible ; 
and the misrepresentations of the Coran not merely destroy their 
identity, but by cancelling and overturning all preceding revelations, 
take from us the only means we have of proving the imposture 
false. Could the counsels of the Evil one have devised any more 
perfect plan for frustrating the Gospel and grace of God ? * 

It is true, indeed, that the Coran has taken much from the 
Bible, and abounds therefore with approaches to the truth ; and 
it might have been hoped that these would have proved as 
foundations upon which to build, as a fulcrum whereon to ply our 
argument. But it is a melancholy truth, that a certain amount of 
light and knowledge often renders it only the more difficult to 
drive the bigot from his prejudices. Thus the Mussulman is 
conscious of possessing many truths behind which he proudly 
entrenches himself, persuaded that he has the whole truth and 
nothing but the truth. The supposed advantages then, the points 
common to both, are thus turned into a barrier against us, into a 
thick impenetrable veil which effectually excludes every glimmer- 

1 Having quoted a verse from the Coran, Forster adds, " this assuredly is 
none other than the voice of Satan speaking by the mouth of a False apostle " 
strange epithets for the promised blessing ! 


ing of the true light. How delusive, therefore, are such anticipa- 
tions as these of Mr. Forster : 

" Since we find among the followers of Mohammed, such favourable pre- 
possessions, and established doctrines, AS WILL RENDER EASY THE APPROACH 
TO THEIR CONVERSION, neither force of obligation, NOR PROSPECT OF SUCCESS, 1 
is wanting to encourage our progress, and animate our zeal " : and again, he 
affirms, that the two religions "hold so many great fundamentals in 
common, that they contain a natural and necessary tendency to convergence : 
the imperfect scheme, when its providential work shall have been accom- 
plished, becoming absorbed in the perfect, and the moon of Mohammed 
resigning its borrowed rays, to melt in the undivided light of the everlasting 

It is certainly a novel idea to speak of Mohammed or his 
Goran under the simile of the moon ; his own people 2 style him 
the sun, and our Saviour the moon, and they would laugh to scorn 
any mention of their Prophet's " borrowed light " melting into 
that of the Gospel. 

These are melancholy reflections. Have we, then, no more 
encouraging thoughts with which to conclude this article ? Have 
all our efforts been thrown away, and our cause nowise advanced? 
God forbid! for, amid discouragement, we can discern pleasing 
tokens of progress. And first, our friends, it is evident, are closely 
and carefully examining the Scriptures ; the simple fact, therefore, 
of the perusal of the Word of God is a step gained, and one which 
will, we yet may hope, lead to favourable results. Again, as the 
controversy advances, and hooks on the subject are spread abroad, 
the mistaken views hitherto entertained of our leading doctrines, 
will be removed, and scriptural knowledge substituted in their 
stead. This should sweep away many of the strongholds built on 
erroneous notions of Christianity; and then rejection of our faith 
will be in the face of the clearest light. "We trust, too, that Chris- 
tian character is now more generally exhibited to the view of our 
adversaries ; and its excellencies and graces cannot fail (if we are 
but true to our profession) to aid their conviction of the truth of 
our religion. And, lastly, we look with anxious hope, to the 
influence of the native Christians from amongst our Orphan 

1 The italics and capitals are Forstor's own. 
As in the Saulat w Zaighctm* 


asylums and converts generally, 'and to the effect which appeals 
thus sounding from among themselves, and addressing their feel- 
ings and reason with native home-drawn arguments, will have 
throughout the country. 

But of all human means we trust most to those exhibitions of 
earnestness and anxiety, which Christian love is now prompting 
its professors to put into active motion. Yes ; it is a matter of 
congratulation that the attitude which Europe and America are 
now assuming, is just that which is likely to strike conviction 
into the impassive heart of the Mohammedan. When he sees 
Christians so vitally alive to the infinite blessings their religion 
is calculated to impart, so tenderly concerned for the perishing 
condition of their brethren, and so filled with zeal to make them 
sharers of their own blessings, as cheerfully to undergo loss and 
suffer privation ; this is a practical argument, the most likely of 
any to convince him of the reality and Divine nature of the 
Gospel. God be praised that Christianity is beginning gradually 
to assume her rightful position; and no sooner shall she have 
fully done so, than a light must break forth establishing before 
the world her truth and the unspeakable difference between it 
and every false religion. 

In conclusion, we would earnestly press the necessity which 
lies upon all of removing, as far as their ability extends, the 
ignorance of the Mohammedans ; and the responsibility those are 
under who possess the requisite qualifications, of affording them 
access to the numerous spheres of learning, a knowledge of which 
is presupposed in most of our religious discussions. Let us attend 
to Dr. Lee: 

11 In ancient History and Scripture, the Persians are necessarily very 
ignorant, 1 the best means they have of obtaining either being the fragments 

1 As an instance of their ignorance of History, there is a passage in the 
Saulat uz ZaAglwm t where the author adduces the fall of Babylon as the 
accomplishment of ancient prophecies in favour of Mohammed. Ho says 
that Isaiah and Jeremiah successively predicted the destruction of this city, 
but had it fallen in their times that its overthrow would not again liaye 
been foretold by St. John in the Revelations. At last, lie tells us, the priest 
Sdtih predicted it to Noiuliirvan, as about to follow the establishment of 
Mohammed's creed. It will bo difficult to disabuse them of the idea that we 


found in the Goran or the traditions ; nor is there much probability of their 
improving in this respect, until they shall possess a good translation of the 
whole Bible, with some such works as the connections of the Old and New 
Testaments by Prideaux, the connections of sacred and profane History 
by Shuckford, and some good commentary on the Text of Scripture" 
(p. cxxii.). And again: "It would be well to translate into the Persian 
some of our standard books on the apparent contradictions of the Scrip- 
tures, with Paley's Evidences of Christianity, or the recent work of Mr. 

Translations, however, to make them useful, should be 
adapted and remodelled, leaving out much that would be unsuit- 
able to an Oriental, and supplying much that would be superfluous 
to a European reader. 1 We would urge this duty, not upon our 
Indian Society alone, but upon the learned of England. Islam is 
not, like the religion of the Hindoo, a subject foreign to the 
European; for twelve centuries it has been his near neighbour; it 
effected a footing in Spain and Italy, and it now reigns in 
Turkey; from the stores of its learning was the darkness of the 
Middle Ages first enlightened ; and our libraries are full of learned 
and controversial works in defence and in defiance of both 
religions. Why then have we not more instances of our country- 
men treading in the steps of Dr. Lee? The stimulus of & prize is 
sufficient to entice the learned inmates of Oxford and Cambridge 
to combat the remote and dimly distinguished tenets of the 
Hindoo. And shall not the interest and proximity of the subject, 
its close connection with Europe, and the ample resources at hand 
for obtaining a knowledge of the principles of Islam, be sufficient 
to tempt our learned countrymen to come forward in the Moham- 
medan contest ; and thus, without the labour or the banishment of 
are deceiving them in representing John's as a spiritual Babylon, without a 
considerable knowledge of History on their part 

1 A thousand such works are urgently required. When will our phil- 
anthropic spirit prompt us to supply our native fellow-subjects with a 
theological library? A running commentary on the whole Bible, but 
especially on the New Testament, is urgently needed. Brief notes, litho- 
graphed in the margin, would prove invaluable ; such a work should be 
executed so as to accommodate the native taste. Take the Lucknow Goran 
with its running marginal Urdoo notes as the model. A wide margin and 
smaller writing for the notes, will afford ample room for all that needs to be 
said. We trust soon to see some work of this description. 


a missionary life, to forward the Christian cause by aids more 
valuable than thousands of silver and gold? 

We would also impress upon those who are unable to help by 
writing, the duty which the more heavily devolves upon them 
of furnishing means for printing and circulating books already 
provided. We understand that Pf ander's works are nearly out of 
print ; and we strongly recommend that five, or, if possible, ten 
thousand copies of Mfaun-ul-HaqQ, and two thousand of the other 
treatises, be struck off in Urdoo, with a reasonable proportion in 
Persian ; for this, no doubt, extraordinary funds will be required, 
but surely the Christian public, when awakened to a sense of the 
magnitude and urgency of the object, will not be backward in 
furnishing them. At all events, in thus prominently directing 
public attention to the subject, we have discharged a duty towards 
one of the worthiest of men and one of the noblest of causes. Of 
Pfander or his writings, many of our Indian residents may pro- 
bably have never heard. And if what has been written shall 
prove the means of leading any of them so to esteem the author, 
and appreciate the value of his works, as to stir them up to lend 
effective aid in circulating them throughout the Mohammedan 
world, one great object which we had in view in this review will 
have been gained. Dr. Pfander is an ordained minister of the 
Church of England; and it is by the multiplication of such 
agents, that this or any other branch of the Christian Church can 
expect to obtain a secure footing and a permanent ascendancy 
among the hitherto unreclaimed realms of heathenism* 

Asrfo; or, "Key of Mysteries Shattered." 

Since writing the above article we have perused the work 
published by Syud Ali Hassan, the Mtytahid of Lucknow, to 
which reference is made at page 33. At its close is printed 
correspondence which passed between this eminent Apologist 
and Pfander, who had forwarded his books to him in 1842. 
The Mujtahid replied, as before stated, in a very courteous 


manner, complimented Pfander on the uncommon merit of his 
productions, and informed him that he had set one of his pupils 
to furnish a reply. 1 The author of the present work, therefore, 
is not the Shiea Apologist himself, but his nephew, SyudMahom- 
med Hadi, whose father and the Mujtahid are sons of the famous 
Syud Dildar All, who gained celebrity by his travels in Arabia, 
Persia, and other countries ; and, being a pillar of the Shiea faith, 
and a man famed for his attainments, became the spiritual guide 
of the King of Oudh, and the Mujtahid of Lucknow. The office 
would thus appear to be in some measure hereditary, and the 
incumbent is said to be enriched by the free-will offerings of the 
Oudh nobility; so that the position is not only a dignified but 
a lucrative one. 

The work is entitled: " Key of Mysteries (MiftdJirul-Awdr) Shat- 
tered." The full title is : " The Curtain drawn aside, to shew the 
'Key of Mysteries' (MiftuJwd-Asrur) shattered, and the Conceits 
of a certain Ecclesiastic refuted." It is written in very high 
Persian, and abounds with Arabic phrases ; the author, indeed, 
frequently breaks into whole sentences and even pages of Arabic, 
especially where he reduces his reasoning to a logical form : he 
may, no doubt, have found that the technical and laconic language 
of the Arabians enabled him at times to express his ideas with 
greater exactness and precision, but the general effect is to give an 
appearance of pedantry and display. The arrangement is much 
the same as that recommended above for a reply to the Saulat uz 
Zaigham. A quotation is first made from the Miftdh, comprising 
generally a whole chapter or division, headed in large letters, 
"Thus writes the Christian." At the close follows his reply, 

1 At the same time he forwarded for Pfander's perusal five tracts in refu- 
tation of the Christian religion ; of these, one is a.reply to the JDaJdil Wdfiah, 
a tract noticed in Saulat uz Zaigham, but which we have not seen. Another 
is an account of some controversies with the Bev. William Bowley, of Chunar, 
who, no doubt, is the same referred to in the Saulat as "William Padre." 
A third is a disputation with " Padre Joseph Wolff/' who is stated to have 
visited Lucknow, and proclaimed the advent of our Saviour as about to take 
place in fourteen years, a topic which is more than once mentioned with 
exultation as a proof of the liability of Christians to err in the interpretation 
of their Scriptures. 


begun similarly with the words, " I say in reply, and from the 
Lord I seek assistance." After general remarks, if he has occasion 
to notice any particular passage, it is introduced with the title, 
"Again he says * (quoting the passage), and then proceeds to give 
his answer as before. This mode of reply is recommended for 
imitation on similar occasions. The headings mark the alterna- 
tions of text and commentary as clearly as any division into 
chapters could, and the whole is a most convenient as well as 
strictly Oriental mode of composition. 

The line of attack shows the subtilty and skill of our adver- 
saries. The Mujtahid, in his letter to Pfander, assumes that the 
turning-point between us is the doctrine of the Trinity. Rather, 
the turning-point is the genuineness and integrity of our Scrip- 
tures y when that is proved, the truth of the Christian religion 
and falsity of Mohammedanism follow quite independently of the 
Trinity or any other Christian doctrine. These form, indeed, 
valuable subsidiary points, for they prove the Coran to oppose 
previous revelation, but they are all involved in the soundness of 
the Scriptures ; and till this is proved on our side, or disproved on 
that of the Moslems, the arguments must remain incomplete and 
unsatisfactory. To have rendered the present attack in any degree 
a fair one, the author was bound either to have acknowledged the 
genuineness of the P>ible, or proved its corruption ; instead, he 
passes over the Miztin with the sneer that its arguments had been 
formerly refuted, and that it might more aptly have been called 
the Mizdn i Bdtil, 1 and proceeds to analyse and discuss the 
contents of the Miftf A foul~Asrfa\ He is thus enabled to take 
up at pleasure the most profound and mysterious doctrines of 
Revelation ; ho appeals to reason to attest their impossibility, and 
hence he deduces the corruption of our Scriptures. Further, he 
denies that the Scriptures, even as they stand, contain the dis- 

1 That is, the False or Foolish Balance, as opposed to the "Balance of Truth" 
(Mizdn-ul-ffaqq'). He says, however, in the course of his book, that he 
meditates a reply to the Mkan-ul-Hwfl, and we hope he will accomplish it. 
The integrity of the Scriptures is the ground upon which our closest struggle 
must take place, of which the Mussulmans are very shy ; they hardly ever 
approach it fairly and openly, but delight in covert attacks. 


puted tenets, and, by throwing into the shade the stronger passages 
adduced by Pfander, by describing others as metaphorical, by 
applying a few to his own Prophet, and explaining away the 
remainder, he in appearance destroys the amount of cumulative 
evidence which before appeared irresistible. But the most unjust 
and gratuitous portion of his books is that which rejects in toto 
the Acts and Epistles, and assumes that the Four Gospels alone are 
to be regarded as inspired, the rest being of no more value than 
the Hydt-ul-Culub* or other Mohammedan histories. Taking up 
such ground, and assuming to himself such unbounded licence of 
dispensing with our evidence, it is not to be wondered that the 
Divinity of Christ and the Trinity are dogmatically rejected by 
the writer as unfounded and absurd, and pronounced to be the 
fabrications of a heated imagination. We shall now notice some 
of his chief lines of reasoning which may prove interesting to our 

The grand feature of the book is, that reason being the supreme 
Judge, the Divinity of Christ and the Trinity are absolute impom- 
UlUies. On both doctrines, while directly at issue with Pfander, 
he simply assumes his own position as axiomatic, and proceeds to 
draw his inferences from them. His work is therefore beside 
the point, and cannot be regarded as a reply to the until 
he strengthens his premises by argument and proof. Bevelation, 
he argues, must be communicated through a prophet, whose mis- 
sion cannot be established until the existence of the Deity by 
whom he is commissioned be ascertained ; and that can be done 
by reason alone ; therefore, reason is prior to revelation, and to 
imagine anything proved by revelation which is contrary to reason 
is to imagine a thing to be proved by itself, which is absurd ; and 
hence he deduces that revelation must bend to reason, and that 
anything in the former which opposes the latter must be explained 
as metaphorical, or abandoned altogether. From such premises 
he concludes, that were the Trinity, or any other impossible 
doctrine, contained even in an acknowledged revelation, it must 

1 " Life or History of Hearts. " When the Aota are adduced in support of a 
doctrine, he applies to us the proverb, " The fox saw his own tail," implying 
that they are a fabrication of the Christians, and therefore useless as evidence. 


be rejected ; consequently its existence in our Scriptures would 
simply prove their corruption, not the truth of the doctrine. 
Our opponent being determined to resist the utmost amount of 
evidence, it was needless for him to have advanced further. With 
a mind so bent against the reception of evidence, what advantage 
could be anticipated from discussion ? 

To the argument that our reason is feeble, and that a thousand 
things about us are as incomprehensible as the Divine mystery, he 
replies, that these things are involved in creation, and are there- 
fore nothing to the point. Every thing that we can think of, he 
divides into three classes: 1 (1) the absolute, whose existence is 
beyond change or question ; (2) the impossible, whose existence 
cannot be conceived ; and (3) impossible, of which the existence 
and non-existence are both imaginable. The mysteries of nature 
belong to the third class, and, liable to change and composition, 
cannot be regarded as analogies of the Divine nature ; but real 
trinity in unity is included in the second category, and, therefore, 
the mysteries of nature, however incomprehensible, cannot affect 
its impossibility. He thus asserts that the doctrine in dispute is 
not incomprehensible, but impossible; and he accuses Pfander 
of confounding that which it is impossible to comprehend with 
what we comprehend to be impossible. Thus, by begging the 
question, he renders his reasoning inconclusive. 

The Maulavi feigns surprise that Pfander, having once 
renounced reason, should again at pleasure use it to his service. 
Reason, he pretends, is abjured by us only for the occasion ; in 
one sense, indeed, we do reject our own reason, by taking up with 
that of the devil ! He taunts his opponent : "At times affecting 
the extreme of piety, you abandon your reason and follow only 
the Word ; at others, you hold the most extravagant absurdities, 
fabricated out of your own head, and even in opposition to the 
Scripture ! " Thus he takes Pfander to task for speaking of the 
planets as hung in the air ; assuming from the Old Testament the 
creation of a material Heavens, he accuses his adversary of sub- 
stituting in their stead an empty space on the hypothesis of our 

1 In the original: (1) Wfyto at WiijM ; (2) Mumtand al Wujtid ; (3) 
MumMn al Wujdd. 


star-gazing philosophers, and in direct contradiction to the voice 
at once of Astronomy and Eevelation. 1 The Maulavi apparently 
cannot distinguish between the use and the abuse of reason. He 
can not, or will not, see that we may employ reason to ascertain 
the existence of the Deity (without presuming to search out the 
mysteries of His nature), and then to guide us in recognising His 
revelation; here reason must stop, and henceforth her only 
legitimate office is to search into the contents and discover the 
meaning of the Divine record. Until this principle he admitted 
we have little to hope from Moslem discussion. 

In pressing his argument from Scripture, the Maulavi opposes 
to Christ's assumption of Divine attributes His own express 
avowal of subordination. Such attributes cannot be proved to 
exist in His nature independently and absolutely (which alone 
would imply divinity), for they are generally spoken of as derived 
from the father, and this dependence is inadmissible in the idea 
of the Divine nature. 

His union with the Father is stated to be a union of spirits 
like that which subsists among believers, and the word " forsaken " 
pronounced upon the cross, is adduced as clearly proving the 
absence of any closer connection. He holds that there are two 
applications of the word God, one of which was in the Old 
Testament used towards prophets and princes, and in the New 
to Christ; and he dextrously adduces our Saviour's quotation, 
"I said ye are gods," as conclusive upon this head. The argu- 
ment of obeisance and adoration he treats in the same way, but 
does not explain how Thomas came to join them together in his 
act of worship. The " word " and " spin of God " are explained 
in much the same way as that of the authors we have already 
considered. The Word means the imperative " Be," by which all 

1 Not long after the publication of this book, Ffander received a note 
regarding it from a learned Hindoo resident of Lnoknow, well versed 
apparently in Arabic philosophy. He discards the views of the Maulavi, and 
holds that, according to Grecian and Hindoo philosophy, there is no material 
Heavens, and that a sect of Mohammedan philosophers profess the same 
belief, though the remainder are bound to the opposite doctrine as a part 
of their religious system. 


things were created, and especially Christ, who was born without 
a father ; " the word Be was in the beginning before all creation, 
and the word was God," that is, by an ellipse, " was the word of 
God " ; and " the word became flesh," that is, was the cause of 
Christ's birth ! 1 To the catholic interpretation of this passage he 
opposes the dictates of reason regarding the impossibility of the 
incarnation of God ; and he asserts that Pfander has mistranslated 
the words " dwelt among us " the Arabic version having in this 
place, " he entered into us " (halla fi n&), which involves the doc- 
trine of transmigration or communication of the Divine essence to 
another (hullul), a tenet regarded by orthodox Mussulmans with 
peculiar horror. Had the Maulavi consulted the original, he 
would have found that the words JcrinjwMw \v JHMV were most aptly 
rendered as above. Indeed, the Maulavi is too much in the 
habit of throwing grave suspicions on the integrity of Pf ander's 
views and translations, merely on the authority of Arabic 
1 Of his frivolous perversions of the sacred text, a few examples may he 
noticed. "No man hath ascended up to Heaven, hut he that came down 
from Heaven"; this, and similar passages as "I am from above, "apply 
equally to Elijah, who also "ascended up," and must therefore have also 
"come down from heaven." The last clause, "even the Son of Man which 
ia in heaven," is denied as an Interpolation, and a curious tradition is men- 
tioned of Imam Riza having publicly stated before a Christian minister called 
ffathuliq, who could not deny the correctness of the quotation, that the 
verse originally ran thus : " Verily, verily, my disciples, I say unto you that 
no man shall ascend into heaven but he that descended from heaven, except 
the camel-mounted, the last of the Prophets, he, indeed, will ascend to 
heaven, and again descend," referring to Mohammed's Mirdj (ascent to the 
seventh heaven) ; and this tradition he says is a thousand times more 
deserving of credit than all your corrupted Gospels put together. Even 
admitting the present reading, he says, "who is in heaven, " does not mean 
actual presence there, hut alludes, by a common mode of speech, to his 
residence in heaven as being close at hand. The power of raising the dead, 
which Christ assumed as inherent in Himself, he describes as referring to the 
approaching miracle of Lazarus, and as implying no higher virtue than 
Elisha possessed. His presence, promised to the disciples to the end of the 
world, is explained metaphorically, " I shall be so aware of the state of each, 
that, as it were, I shall be always in the midst of you" ; or if it does mean 
spiritual presence, it is nothing more than what we believe of other angels, 
and extends at most to the Judgment Day, intimating that then, like other 
men, he must die. 


translations. This may for a time acquire for him some credit 
with his unlearned brethren, but as soon as the untenableness 
of his positions become generally known, it will end only in 
confusion. We recommend the Maulavi to become a student 
of Greek and Hebrew at the Lucknow Martiniere, and to 
make himself thoroughly master of those languages, before he 
again ventures to call in question the renderings of competent 

The proofs from the Old Testament he treats with still less 
fairness. Some of the most important passages are passed over, 
and many others are advanced on the ground that they apply to 
Mohammed. 1 He then produces what he considers two irrefrag- 
able arguments in substantiation of his Prophet's mission. The 
first, the perfection of his religion as a code of morals and 
devotion ; the second, that Mohammed must have been either a 
'true prophet or a madman. He proves by his many virtues and 
talents that he was not the latter, and triumphantly asserts that 
he must have been the former. 9 He forgets that the same argu- 
ment would apply with even greater weight to the apostles ; for 

1 Like K&zim All, he applies the glorious promises of Isaiah to Mohammed ; 
though with greater candour he allows that the introductory verses, " He 
shall not cry," etc., refer to Jesus. He holds that part of the second psalm 
applies to Jesus, and part to Mohammed ; but does not show how to distin- 
guish between the two. He denies that the 53rd of Isaiah can refer to 
Christ, because it is said, " He shall see his seed " ; on the contrary, he holds 
that the promise of " a portion with the great and spoil with the strong," is 
an evident token of Mohammed, forgetting the remarkable words that 
follow, " because he hath poured out his soul unto death, 17 etc. The com- 
mencement of the chapter could not designate Christ, because the Prophet 
speaks in the past tense, " he was despised, and we esteemed him not"; it 
can, therefore, only mean that " we despised and rejected Ishmael," and, by a 
common figure of speech, his descendant Mohammed in him. The c ' root out 
of a dry ground is a reference to Hagar, who, to worldly appearance, was 
an unlikely source for a prophet ; or more probably to the arid plains of 
Mecca, noted for their dryness and sterility. 

3 The learned Hindoo of Lucknow, before referred to, attacks the Maulavi 
on this point ; he asserts that he has omitted a much more likely supposi- 
tion, namely, that of having been a false prophet and impostor. It is 
pleasing to see the subject so soon attract the notice of the Hindoos and 
elicit so very pertinent a criticism. 


-with them we have many claimants to inspiration, instead of 
one we have pure morals, and an entire absence of worldly 

In taking up the chapter on the Holy Ghost as third Person 
of the Trinity, he leaves almost unnoticed the strongest passages 
from the New Testament, and dwells upon others which Pfander 
himself acknowledges are no more than allusions. He mistakes 
the gift and influences of the Holy Ghost, for the Divine spirit 
itself ; and asserts that our doctrine would lead to the supposition 
that Christ was in the womb of Elizabeth and Mary at the same 
time; for "John was filled with the Holy Ghost from his 
mother's womb." He holds that the epithet here means the gift 
of repentance or spirit of faith, which was imparted by the 
apostles to those who believed. The Athanasian creed, as trans- 
lated into Arabic by Sabat, is now criticised, and by applying the 
attributes and nature of one Person in the blessed Trinity to 
another, as he affirms he is warranted to do upon the supposition 
of real Unity, he reduces the doctrine ad absurdum, and holds it 
up in a variety of lights, as involving contradictions and impossi- 
bilities. He omits, throughout his reply, the orthodox doctrine of 
the two natures of Christ which, had he approached the subject 
in a proper spirit, would have extricated him from many of his 

The examples and analogies from nature are rejected because, 
while the unity is that of figure or substance, the plurality 
consists in parts or qualities. He does not fail to take Pfander 
to task for the examples of the circle, etc. ; but his language is 
perhaps less strong and improper than that of others noticed 
before. One's sense of the disadvantage of these illustrations 
is, if possible, strengthened by the Maulavi's remarks. The 
> disadvantage of metaphysical reasoning on this vitally important 
subject is strikingly shown in several passages, where it is 
assumed by our opponent that we consider the Son and the Holy 
Ghost to be manifestations of the Divine essence; the former 
being the attribute of wisdom or intelligence, the latter, of 
power and love. Such views, however carefully the language 
may be chosen, are undoubtedly prone to denude the blessed 


Persons of that individuality which the Bible attributes to 

The Maulavi exults that his adversary has been driven for 
examples of the Trinity to the tenets of idolatrous nations and 
heathen philosophers, and quotes the proverb, "The drowning 
man clutches at every straw," to intimate that he could only 
have adopted so dangerous an expedient from the badness of his 
cause. 1 He warns him that religion is a serious and a delicate 
subject, and that we are not here, as in worldly matters, to seek 
assistance from all by force or by fraud. 2 These remarks show 
how totally he misunderstands Pfander's argument, which is to 
prove the consistency of a species of plurality in unity with 
human reason : now, the Grecian philosophers, for instance, 
had certainly by nature as strong and sound a faculty of reason 
as our adversaries or we possess; and since it is upon reason, 
unaided by revelation, that the Mohammedan hangs his cause, 
it is surely reasonable in us to adduce the evidence of impartial 
reasoners, whose minds, unwarped by any of our supposed 
prejudices, directed the intensest thought towards the discovery 
of the mode in which the Divine Being exists : such deductions, 
surely we may safely oppose to the simple ipse dixit of our 
adversaries, without being suspected of any intention to coun- 
tenance the doctrines themselves. The Sufies are abused by the 
Maulavi, as unbelievers still worse than ourselves, but he will 
not admit that their views in any degree assist us ; because, first, 
they hold a greater variety of manifestations than mere intelligence 
and will, and the analogy, therefore, proves too much; and, 
secondly, their doctrines are not allowed by the orthodox 
Mussulmans. He likewise accuses Pfander of inconsistency in 
first representing these Sufie philosophers as believing in a trinity, 

1 He throws the proverb in our teeth, " Idolatry and infidelity are but 
one religion," as implying that we and the idolaters are mnoh alike in error. 

9 He denies that the Hindoos hold plurality in unity regarding their 
deity ; asserting that Brahma, Vishnu, and Hahesh 'represent the angels 
Asraf ael, Michael, and Azrael, and are in faot only the ministers of the 
Deity ; and he makes large extracts upon this subject from a Persian writer. 
He, accordingly, denies that they hold the incarnation of the Detty* 


and afterwards asserting that absolute metaphysical unity would 
land its professor in the Sufie error of regarding the Divinity as a 
mere existence, and all creation his attributes. He distinctly 
denies that they or any other Mussulmans look upon the Deity 
as a rigid metaphysical unity, but as a being endowed with 
attributes and perfections, although absolutely one in person and 

Pfander's most important and concluding chapter he treats 
with contempt, and allots but six pages to its reply. The know- 
ledge of God can be obtained only in accordance with reason 
and revelation, both of which lie affirms point to unity and not 
to trinity. That the salvation of man is dependent upon these 
doctrines, he ridicules as the height of absurdity, because we hold 
that Christ actually descended into Hell, a shocking blasphemy 
which no other people ever dared to affirm of their prophet 1 
The all-important doctrine of Christ's vicarious suffering he treats 
with scorn, and applies to us the proverb 

"They flee for refuge from the rain, 
And stand for shelter 'ncath the drain," 

that is, in seeking to escape from a slight misfortune, viz. the 
punishment of our sins, we run into the greater danger of 
charging God with injustice by inflicting the punishment of the 
guilty upon the innocent. Having thus abandoned the atonement, 
he satisfies himself with saying that the faith in Christ, to which 
pardon is promised, is nothing more nor less than the faith and 
obedience which every prophet has insisted upon, and in return 
for which he has promised the same blessings. 

Upon the whole, there is nothing to discourage us in this 
production. The fallacy of the greater part of the reasoning 
must be recognised by the majority of thinking Mussulmans if 
they choose to reflect with impartiality ; and though it may for 
a time throw dust unto the eyes of the less candid and intelligent 
portion of the community, still, as Pfander's entire 2 work is 

1 This popular delusion the Mohammedans have probably picked up from 
the Apostles' creed ; it certainly appears to be very generally promulgated 
among them. 

a The eleventh page alone is omitted, we cannot see with what object 


quoted chapter by chapter, we cannot but rejoice that so great a 
portion of truth is placed before the Mohammedan reader (if he 
will but attend to it) as an antidote to the poison. We under- 
stand that Pfander, at the close of the controversy with Ali 
Hassan, which he is about to publish, intends to add a few 
remarks in refutation of the Volume we have been considering 
in this supplementary addition to our article. 





From the "Calcutta Review," 1852 

1. Life of Mohammed. Bombay Tract and Book Society. 

Bombay, 1851. 

2. TJie Life of Mohammed. London : Religious Tract Society. 

3. Life of MoTiammed. By Washington Irving. London: 

Henry G. Bohn, 1850. 

4. Moultid Sharif. "The Ennobled Nativity." Lucknow, 1562 

Heg. Cawnpore, 1267 Heg. Agra, 1268 Heg. (1852). 

5. Kitdbilstifsdr. (" Book of Questions.") Pp.806. Lucknow, 

1261 Heg, (1845). 

6. Hall ul Ishktil. ("Solution of Difficulties.") "A Reply to 

Kashf-vl-Ast&r, and Eitdb i Istifsdr" Agra, 1847. 

WITHIN the last ten or twenty years, the mind of Christian 
Europe has been directed, with more studious earnestness and 
dispassionate inquiry, towards the rise of Islam, than in any 
preceding period : and the progress made in searching out the 
truths of that crisis in the world's history, is characterised by 
corresponding success. Indeed, the amount of facts carefully 
collected, and of data philosophically weighed, within this short 
term is, perhaps, of greater value than all the labours of 
Christian writers during the twelve preceding centuries. 


It is only necessary to mention the names of WEIL, of 
CATJSSIN DE PEBOIVAL, and of SPRENGER, and very many more 
might be adduced, to call up to recollection the depth of study, 
philosophy, and Oriental learning which have been brought to 
bear upon the subject. Some portions of these labours have already 
been cursorily reviewed in this journal. But they deserve, and 
will we trust yet receive, a far deeper and more extended survey. 
The task is one to which an Indian periodical may well be 
devoted. The facilities for the study are, probably, greater here 
than in any other part of the world; and the discovery by 
Sprenger of the invaluable WOKIDI, gives promise of, perhaps, 
still further treasures purchased from the West at some remote 
period by the riches of Indian conquerors and Ameers, being 
still extant in the land. However, if the exertions of Sprenger 
had resulted only in bringing WSckidi to the light, he had 
deserved, for that task alone, the gratitude of all the lovers of 
Mohammed's biography. 1 

But our labours must not dissipate in literary phantoms, in 
the mere charms of antiquarian research, or even in the sub- 
stantial acquisition of remote historical truths. Dear as these 
are to us, they are but baubles in themselves. It is because 
they bear upon the faith and the superstitions of millions of 
Mohammedans about us, that these investigations are possessed of 
an unspeakable value and importance. 

Hitherto, we have been able to address the Moslem only 
in the language of the West; we have told him of the dis- 
quisitions of Maracci and of Prideaux, and he has looked with 
contemptuous incredulity upon our words. In truth, he might 
well do so: for they are but poor authorities, who ventured 
with no tempered weapons into the momentous strife. They 
were possessed neither of the native records, nor of the cool 

1 [This same copy of W&ckidi was given to me by its possessor after the 
Mutiny. It was transcribed at Damascus A.H. 718 (A.D. 1818) ; the chain 
of copyists attesting its accuracy runs up to the Secretary of "WUckidi 
himself. I have placed it in the India Oflico library. It is worth 
inspecting for the beauty of its antique writing. A beautiful copy of 
the same has also been deposited in the Edinburgh University library. 
-W. M.] 


judgment and philosophy, requisite for closing hand to hand 
with Moslem adversaries. 

But now we can boldly take our stand with the best of our 
opponents. We have free access to their most authentic sources, 
Ibn Ishac, Wackidi, Hishami, Tabari. And we can, without 
fear, confront them with an array of hostile weapons drawn 
from their own armouries. 

How then, it may be asked, are we bringing these new 
advantages to bear upon their Prophet's life and doctrine? The 
answer is one of shame and humiliation. Besides a few tracts, 
generally of a questionable composition, the only vernacular 
treatises likely to affect the Mohammedan mind, are the 
admirable works of the Missionary Pfander, which we have 
in a former Number passed under examination : but even these 
have little reference to the historical deductions of modern 
research, and deal more with the deep principles of reason and 
of faith. 

The first treatise at the head of this Article, professes to be a 
direct step towards the object we have in view. It is a Life of 
Mohammed intended by the Bombay Tract Society for trans- 
lation into "the vernacular tongues." The preface, after 
dwelling on the inapplicability of European biographies to the 
"Asiatic public," thus states the object of the treatise: "It 
was, therefore, thought advisable to prepare another Life of 
Mohammed, with special reference to the state of mind and 
circumstances of the people of this country. This is now 
presented." We looked to see advantage taken in this Biography 
of the investigations regarding the rise of Islam which have been 
prosecuted with such success in France, Germany, Austria, as well 
as here in India. But our expectation was speedily disappointed 
by the following statement : " Many works have been consulted, 
" but the following, and especially the first three, are those which 
" have been most copiously used, viz. : 

Bush's Life of Mohammed. 

Washington living's Zife of Mohammed. 

Religious Tract Society's Lift of Mohammed. Loiidon. 

Sale's Coran and Preliminary Treatises. 

Gibbon's History." 


Of the three works thus chiefly relied upon, we have no knowledge 
of the first. But the second and third do not possess any preten- 
sions whatever to critical accuracy, being simple digests, popularly 
constructed from the current histories on the subject. From 
such sources a treatise adapted for the uncritical portion of 
the European public might, perhaps, have been well compiled, 
but it was a wrong step to lean upon such authorities, in the 
preparation of a biography intended for the natives of India. 

The Biography of their Prophet, it is true, is not a favourite 
study with the Mohammedans of the present day; it forms 
no part of the usual course of scholastic study or theological 
reading; and is only taken up by those whose religious or 
antiquarian tastes attract them to the subject. Still the 
main facts of Mohammed's life are generally known; and the 
natives of India can, at any rate, readily ascertain them by 
reference to the historical works scattered about the country. 
Lives of the Prophet by Christians will challenge the closest 
examination. If errors be detected in them, their effect will not 
simply be neutralised : their tendency will be positively injurious. 
The natives will be impressed with the idea that our sources of 
information are imperfect and erroneous, and will conclude 
that our judgment of Mohammed and of his religion, founded 
upon these, is imperfect and erroneous. They will thus be 
fortified in their scornful rejection of Christian evidence, and in 
their self-complacent reliance on the dogmas of Islam. 

This is, therefore, not a mere speculative criticism, in which 
the Reviewer may be accused of searching for faults merely 
for fault-finding's sake. The most apparently trifling misrepre- 
sentation has a real and important bearing on the controversy 
with the Mohammedans. It is a subject in which every 
Christian man has a deep interest at stake. And as such we 
take it up. Let us therefore look for a moment at the two 
authorities from which the Life of Mohammed, published by the 
Tract and Book Society of Bombay, is mainly constructed. 

The Life of Mohammed, by Washington Irving, does not 
aim at being more than a popular treatise. "The author lays 
no claim to novelty of fact, nor profundity of research," His 


work "dges not aspire to be consulted as an authority, but 
merely to be read as a digest of current knowledge, adapted to 
popular use." Yet even in such a biography, rigid accuracy as 
far as his authorities went, the public had a right to expect ; 
but in this treatise the truth is too often lost sight of amid the 
charms of a romantic style and an enchanting narrative. This is 
not owing to any unfair bias in the historian's mind. For the 
conclusions drawn from his facts are generally such as do credit 
to his feelings as well as his judgment. It is owing to imperfect 
knowledge, arising apparently in part from want of diligence in 
using authorities actually at his command, and in part from the 
disadvantages which all writers must labour under who approach 
the subject without a knowledge of Arabic and acquaintance with 
the early Arabian authors. 

In one respect this is the more inexcusable, because Washing- 
ton Irving confesses, in his preface, to have " profited by recent 
lights thrown on the subject by different writers, and particularly 
by Dr. Gustav Weil, to whose industrious researches and able 
disquisitions he acknowledges himself greatly indebted." From 
such authorities he has, indeed, enriched his pages with many 
facts hitherto new to the English reader, and with many a 
story delightfully told. But he has not used them invariably as 
he might Had he studied with diligence the invaluable work 
of Dr. Weil, he would have avoided many of the mistakes and 
imperfections which must seriously detract from the value of his 
biography. Another objection, and one that runs throughout 
the book, is, that the author writes too much for effect. The 
style is beautiful. A charm of romance is thrown around the 
topics so poetically portrayed. But truth is sometimes sacrificed 
to effect. And thus the very essence and only worth of an 
historical treatise is, in great measure, lost, It is true that very 
often, if not always, this may be owing to the indistinctness or 
imperfection of the author's knowledge. But the fault itself is 
not the less to be regretted. 

A most prejudicial result of this uncritical and rhetorical style 
is, that the fabricated stories of supernatural and miraculous 
events, which the pious credulity of later days engrafted on the 


biography of Mohammed, have been wrought into the history, 
while no means are afforded to the reader for discerning the real 
from the fictitious events ; nor amongst the latter, for discrimin- 
ating which originated with Mohammed himself, and which 
were long afterwards without grounds ascribed to him. The 
beautiful portrait of Mohammed, placed at its commencement, 
is a fit emblem of the whole work. The countenance beams 
with intelligence, struggling between sensuousness and lofty 
resolve; while in the background is the Kaaba, with its sombre 
hangings; and a crowd of followers are seen flourishing their 
scimitars and daggers with angry gesture at each other. A 
charming picture ! But not that of the real Mohammed in his 
Arab garb; for here he is sumptuously arrayed in an ermine- 
bound robe; in one hand he holds an open volume, and the 
other is stretched aloft, to enforce his earnest address. Now 
Mohammed never preached from any book; the Coran was, 
in fact, not even collected during his lifetime, but remained 
recorded in scattered shreds. So much for the delighful but 
fancy sketches of Washington Irving : pleasant, perhaps profitable, 
for the English reader, but in no wise suited for Mohammedan lands. 

The biographies of the two Tract Societies equally abound in 
misstatements which it would be fatal to publish in the proposed 
translations. It may be well to quote a few instances. 1 Here is 
the first paragraph : 

Mohammed was loft in his childhood to the care of his grandfather, who, 
at his death, intrusted the orphan to his son Abu Talib, on whom the 
AoRourt and the wcaltii of the family then devolved. The uncle trained the 
youth at a proper age, to the business of a merchant traveller. He continued 
in the employ of his uncle till he was twenty-five years old ; and this is all 
that is known of his early history. 

Now Abu Talib, instead of being wealthy, was extremely 
indigent A portion of the honours of the family did, indeed, 
devolve upon him, but his poverty forced him to abandon them 
to his brother Abbas. Thus Weil : 

1 [The original Article contains several pages of such erroneous statements ; 
but as the works under review are no longer in use, only two or three 
instances are here retained.- W. M.] 


After Abd Al Muttalib's death, the right to entertain the pilgrims passed 
over to his son Abu Talib, who, however, soon became so poor, that he left 
it to his brother Abbas, who received also the political charge of the temple. 
It was, in fact, Abu Talib's poverty which obliged him to 
suggest that his nephew should seek for a livelihood in Khadija's 
service. Thus Wfcckidi : 

When Mohammed reached his five-and-twentieth year, Abu Talib thus 
addressed him : " I am, as thou well knowest, a man without substance, 
and the times deal hardly with me. Now here is a caravan of thine own 
tribe about to set out for Syria, and Kliadlja, daughter of Khuweilid, 
needeth men from amongst our people to send forth with her merchandise. 
If thou wert to offer thyself in this capacity, she would readily accept 

On a previous occasion, when Mohammed was a boy of twelve, 
Abu T&lib carried him on a mercantile trip to Syria : but this 
was simply because the orphan lad clung to his paternal 
protector. So W&ckidi again : 

When Abu Talib was on the point of starting, Mohammed was overcome 
by affection and by grief, at the prospect of being separated from him : and 
Abu Tdlib's bowels were moved, and he said, " I will take him with me, and 
he shall not part from me, nor I from him, for ever." 

These are the only two mercantile expeditions ever undertaken by 
Mohammed. What then becomes of the " training at a proper 
" age, to the business of a merchant traveller, and continuing in 
" the employ of his uncle till he was twenty-five years old"? 

Equally wrong is the following passage, regarding the 
evidence for the miracles of Mohammed : 

By some of the more credulous of Mohammed's followers, there are, it is 
true, several miracles attributed to him, as that he clave the moon asunder ; 
that trees went forth to meet him. ; that water flowed from between his 
fingers ; that the stones saluted him ; that a beam groaned to him ; that a 
camel complained to him ; and that a shoulder of mutton informed him of 
its being poisoned ; together with several others. But these miracles were 
never alleged by Mohammed himself, nor are they matnfawed ty my 
respectable Moslem writer. 

On the contrary, these miracles are maintained by every 
Mohammedan writer of the present day, whether respectable or 
not. Even the honest W&ckidi, as Dr. Sprenger well styles hi, 
gives the whole of the miracles (excepting the first) specified 
above, and very many more besides. Indeed, a Mohammedan 


would not be regarded as orthodox, who denied any of these 

An anonymous but carefully prepared Urdoo Life of Mohammed 
(written apparently at Dehli) contains particulars of the following, 
among a multitude of other miraculous works. A dirty hand- 
kerchief cast into an oven, came out of the flames white and 
unsinged, because it had been used by Mohammed. His spittle 
turned a bitter well into a sweet one ; removed a scald ; cured 
the ophthalmia; restored sight to a blind man; mended a broken 
leg, and healed instantaneously a deep wound. A man's hand 
was severed in battle from his arm ; he carried it to Mohammed, 
who, by applying his spittle, rejoined it as before. Cat&da's eye 
was knocked entirely out ; the Prophet placed his hand upon it 
and healed it. A dumb boy was cured by drinking the water the 
prophet had washed his mouth and hands in. He laid his hands 
upon a lunatic child, who was cured, a black reptile being 
immediately discharged from his body, A great variety of 
animals opened their mouths on different occasions, and gave 
testimony in his favour. He laid hold of a goat, and the mark of 
his fingers, impressed on its ear, descended to its posterity, and 
still remains a living evidence ! Notwithstanding that the book 
contained these and scores of other equally ridiculous stories, an 
intelligent Mohammedan, intimately acquainted with the early 
Arabic biographers, declared to us his conviction that it was 
throughout credible, and based on well-founded traditions ! 

The same author abuses a set of heretics at Dehli, who, 
he says, do not receive "the miracle of the foot," viz. that 
stones received the impression of Mohammed's step, while it left 
no mark on soft or sandy ground. These are his words : 
It is a matter of extreme astonishment, that a lately established sect, 
notwithstanding their claims to learning, deny the miracle of the Blessed 
foot And what is still stranger, they prohibit the mention of the Holy 
nativity, the Mirflj, the miracles, and the death of the Prophet ; some 
calling it abominable veneration of the creature, others heresy. They seem 
not to know that to make mention of Mohammed, is tantamount to making 
mention of God Himself, a duty enjoined in the Goran. Such people may 
well tremble, lest they draw down upon themselves the wrath of the Lord, 
and a fearful punishment. 


Considerable pains are then taken to prove from the Goran 
and tradition, that the mention of the Prophet is equal to the 
mention of God, and that it is lawful to invoke the Prophet in 
prayer, saying, " Mohammed ! " a practice reprobated apparently 
by these Wahaby (Protestant) Moslems. 1 

The Moslems are as proud of their victories as they are 
sensitive of their disasters; we therefore give an example of 
each. And first the grand field of Bedr. The accounts of this 
battle are singularly inaccurate both in Irving and in the other 
biographies. It is assumed that the Medina force interposed 
between the caravan of Abu Sofian and the Meccan army ; while, 
in reality, the caravan had already passed safely some days before 
either of the armies reached Bedr. The following paragraph is 
full of errors : 

The spies of the Prophet informed him that their rich and apparently 
easy prey was within his grasp. He advanced with a few followers, in 
pursuit of it ; but before he could overtake the unprotected band, Abu 
Sofian had despatched a message to his brethren at Mecca, for a re- 
inforcement. . . . Mohammed was posted between the carawm Mid the 
approadvtoig suectwr with only 813 soldiers. . . . The troops were per- 
suaded to engage the superior forces of the enemy, abandoning, for the 
present, the tempting prize of Abu Sofi&n's wealthy caravan. ... A 
slight entrenchment was formed, to cover the flank of his troops, and a 
rivulet flowing past the spot he had chosen for encampment, furnished his 
army with a constant supply of water. ... At the commencement of the 
battle, the Prophet, together with Abu Bekr, mounted a kind of throne or 
pulpit, earnestly asking of God the assistance of Gabriel, with 3000 
angels ; but when his army appeared to waver he started from his place of 
prayer, threw himself upon a, horse, and casting a handful of sand into the 
air, exclaiming, "confusion fill their faces ! " rushed upon the enemy. . . . 
This sum (the ransom of the prisoners) would compensate, in a measure, for 
the escape of the booty if or, notwithstanding the defeat, Abu Sojidn managed 

1 The people here reprehended are called WahdMes, and their origin is 
no doubt connected in some way with the WaMbtes of Arabia. Equally 
with them, they reject much of the marvellous foolery and superstitions of 
the modern Moslems, and have learnt to submit the current notions received 
from their fathers to the judgment of reason. Are they not hence prepared, 
in some measure, to appreciate and to welcome our criticism of the early 
historical sources? It would be interesting to know something more of 
these DehliWahabies. 


to effect a decent retreat, and to arrive safely at Mecca, with the greater part 
of the caravan. The spoils, however, arising from the ransom of the 
prisoners, and the partial plunder of the caravan, amounted to a consider- 
able sum, the division of which very nearly proved fatal to the victors 
themselves. ... A furious altercation ensued, etc. (pp. 60-63). 

The facts are these. While still in Syria, Ahn SofiSn heard 
of Mohammed's design to attack the returning caravan as it 
passed Medina, and despatched Dham Dham (not Omar, as 
Irving has it) to rouse the Coreish and bring an army to his 
succour. Approaching Bedr, Abu Sofi&n rode forward to recon- 
noitre the spot, and by the fountain came upon traces of Mo- 
hammed's scouts, whom he recognised as such by the peculiar 
shape of the date-stones in the dung left by their camels. 1 In 
dismay he hurried back to his caravan, left the main road, and 
by forced marching along the seacoast was soon out of danger. 
He then sent back a messenger to the Coreish army, by this 
time on its way to Bedr, to inform them of his safety, and 
recall them ,- but they preferred to try the issue with Mohammed. 
On the other hand, when the Medina army arrived at Bedr, 
Mohammed was still ignorant that the caravan had passed, or 
even that the Coreish were advancing to attack him ; and their 
watering party was seized and beaten in the vain hope of 
finding that they belonged to the caravan. It was after this 
that the battle occurred. 

We see thus how grossly inaccurate is the account of 
Mohammed's army " being posted between the caravan and the 
approaching succour"; of "partial plunder of the caravan"; and of 
Abu SofiSn, "notwithstanding the defeat, managing to effect a 
decent retreat, and arriving at Mecca with the greater part of the 
caravan," The notices of a "rivulet" at Bedr, where there were 

1 Irving's inaccuracy here deserves notice. "At length he came upon 
the track of the little army of Mohammed. He knew it from the size of 
the kernels of the dates, which the troops had thrown by the wayside as 
they marched." Mohammed's army, in point of fact, had hardly yet left 
Medina. The date-kernels were not thrown by the way, hut were found by 
Abu Sofidn in the camels' dung; and the traditions are particular in 
describing how he took up the dung and crumbled it to scrutinise the 


only wells; of the Prophet mounting a "kind of throne or 
pulpit"; of his "throwing himself upon a horse"; and of 
disputes about the spoil " very nearly proving fatal to the victors 
themselves," are altogether without foundation. An unpardonable 
error is that Omar was left behind to defend Medina, the more 
unpardonable as the names of the famous 303 warriors are all 
recorded by careful tradition. The only follower who really was 
left behind (besides Abu Lubfiba for the city's defence) was 
Othman; and he stayed to watch the deathbed of his wife 
Bockeya, the Prophet's daughter. 

These errors are the more to be regretted as the Moslems 
regard the victory of Bedr with greater than even their 
usual pride. Let us now take an instance of one of their 
defeats. The expedition to Mftta against the Greeks, three 
years before the Prophet's death, is represented by the Tract 
Society as ending in a triumph; it is added, " The account of this 
victory so delighted Mohammed, that he bestowed on Khaled the 
title of being c One of the swords of the Lord.' " Irvine, going 
still further wrong, says that the Greeks "were pursued with 
great slaughter. Khaled then plundered their camp, in which 
was found great booty." But the facts of the case are, beyond 
question, in an entirely different direction. The defeat of the 
Moslems was complete, and the carnage fearful. It was only by 
the most masterly generalship that Khaled managed to save any 
portion of the army; and when the remnants that escaped 
returned in disgrace to Medina, the inhabitants assembled to meet 
them, and cast dirt in their faces, with taunts such as these, "Ah, 
ye runaways ! shame upon you, that ye dare to turn your backs 
when fighting for the Lord 1 " Mohammed stilled the people, 
and comforted the fugitives, saying, " Nay ! they are not run- 
aways : but they are men who shall return again unto the battle, 
if the Lord will." 

Not to weary the reader with the inaccuracies which abound 
everywhere, let us take just one more from the closing scene : 

After the death of the Prophet, "the body was placed m a magnificent 
tent. . . . When these preparations were completed, his family led the 
funeral procession, followed by the surviving companions of his flight, by 


the principal citizens of Mecca, and by a silent crowd of men, women, and 
children." (Bombay Ufa p. 109 ; London Ufa p. 84.) 

This is pure imagination. The body was never removed from 
the little chamber in Ayesha's house in which the Prophet died, 
and there it still lies below the spot on which he breathed his 

Our chief object in the above review has been to show the in- 
expediency of publishing any vernacular version of the " Bombay 
Life " in its present state. Much it contains that is admirable 
and well suited to the natives of India ; but it requires careful 
revision ; and the numerous errors must first be rectified before it 
is presented to the Mohammedan and the Hindoo public. It is, 
indeed, high time for us to bestir ourselves, and give to our 
Native fellow-subjects a vernacular life of the Prophet of .Arabia. 
We have as yet presented them with nothing of the kind, and 
their own current biographies of Mohammed are the veriest 
inanities which, by any possibility, could be imagined. 

To give some idea of the recent Biographies by Native 
writers, extracts will now be given from a treatise in Urdoo, 
which has met with a favourable reception, and is much sought 
after by Mohammedans. It is called MauUd Sliarif, "THE 
ENNOBLED NATIVITY," though not confined to the birth or child- 
hood of Mohammed. Three editions now lie on our table, the 
first printed at Lucknow in 1265 Hegira (1843); the second 
atCawnpore in 1267 Hegira (1845); the third at Agra in the 
present year, much enlarged (pp. 94). No less than ten or 
twelve editions have already been printed at Lucknow. The 
author is Gholtim Imam Shahid, a polished and ornate writer of 
some celebrity, and formerly an officer of standing in the Court 
of Sudder Dewany. 

The work is composed of so-called traditions and stories, each 
new story being introduced by the words "It is related," or 
"There is a narrative to the effect that," etc. It is interspersed 
with pieces of poetry, generally in Persian, sometimes in TJrdoo, 
lauding Mohammed, and appealing to the hearts and affections of 
devout Moslems. The great bulk of the tales are of late 


fabrication, to be found nowhere in any early biographies such 
as those of HisMml and W&ckidi. Not a single old authority 
appears to have been consulted, but only such late Persian works 
as the Rowzat ul AhMb, the Maddrij ul Nubdwat, etc. The 
Maulavi of course ignores criticism in any shape. 

The legends recorded in this biography are incredibly extrava- 
gant. The improbabilities are so great that the most childish 
intellect, honestly exercised, .would not for a moment entertain 
them. And yet all is told the visits of angels and their conver- 
sations, scenes of heaven and hell both past and prospective, and 
above all, that wild fiction of Mohammed's existence cycles of 
years before the creation, all told with unhesitating credence, as 
mere matters of fact. The first eight pages trace the progress of 
the " Light of Mohammed," from its first creation to the conception 
of the Prophet After the usual introduction, the work opens thus : 

Ye that are lovers of the face of Mohammed, and ye that be enamoured 
with the curls of Ahmed, know and be well aware, that the light of Moham- 
med is the origin of all existing things, and the essence of every thing that 
hath a being ; because that when it pleased the great Creator to manifest 
His glory, He first of all created the light of Mohammed from the light of His 
own Unity ; and from the light of Mohammed produced every existent 
being. Now, this glorious personage was made the last of the prophets, 
solely on this account that, as the rising sun chaseth away the splendours of 
the moon and stars, so doth the glory of the religion of Mohammed supersede 
all other religions ; so that, if that pre-existent light had displayed its 
brilliancy from the first, then would all other prophets have shrunk into 
obscurity, and been shorn of their apostolic dignity. 

After tracing this light into the form of a star, its history is 
interrupted by some stories such as the following : 

A tradition runs that, in the days of the children of Israel, there was a 
sinful and flagitious man who, for the space of 200 years, wearied every one 
by the enormity of his offences ; when he died, they threw his corpse upon 
a dunghill ; no sooner done than Gabriel coming to Moses, spake thus ; 
Thus saith the Almighty God, "This day my friend hath departed from 
the world, and the people have cast his corpse upon a dunghill. Now let 
that corpse be dressed and prepared for burial without delay : and ye shall 
speak unto the children of Israel, that they forthwith recite the burial 
service over his bier if they are desirous of pardon." Therefore, Moses 
marvelled exceedingly, and inquired why forgiveness was required ; and 
God answered thus: "The Lord well fcnoweth all the sins which that 


sinner hath, during these 200 years, committed ; and verily he never could 
have been pardoned. But one day this wicked man was reading the Towrat, 
and seeing there the name of the blessed Mohammed, he wept and pressed 
the page to his eyes. This honour and reverence shown to my beloved was 
pleasing unto me, and from the blessed effects of that single act, I have 
blotted out the sins of the whole 200 years." Lovers of the blessed Moham- 
med ! rejoice in your hearts, and be assured, that love for the holy Prophet, 
the Lord of the creation, is in every possible condition the means of salva- 
tion (p. 3). 

A tradition follows regarding the Judgment Day, the proceedings 
of which are so to be conducted as to show to Mohammed how 
much the Lord forgives for his sake. Again, when Adam sinned 
and fell, the sentence went forth to expel him from Paradise. He 
begged for pity, appealing in every variety of way to God's mercy 
and to the promise of future prophets. But of no avail ; after 
every entreaty, the command was repeated for the angels to carry 
him away. At last, as they were dragging him off, the blessed 
word passed his lips, " Have mercy on me for the sake of Moham- 
med " ; instantly the Lord commanded the angels to let him go, and 
even treat him with reverence, " for he hath taken hold of a great 
intercessor, and his sins are forgiven for Mohammed's sake." 

Where such absurd legends are received as facts, to what a 
state of superstitious credulity must the spiritual and intellectual 
faculties of the Mohammedans be reduced ! Another example 
will suffice. Satan used every day to receive from an angel a blow 
upon his face, so severe that the effects remained till the following 
day. When the Lord of Creation, the Prophet of Islam, appeared, 
Satan besought that he should not be shut out from the benefits 
of his advent, seeing that these are promised in the Goran to all 
creation: the Lord therefore commanded that from that day 
forward the B blow should be discontinued. "Oh Moslems, con- 
sider this! If the rejected Satan was delivered from these 
calamitous blows, by the appearing of the blessed Mohammed, 
what wonder that his followers shall be kept safe from the pains 
of hell-fire T> 

The history of the " Light of Mohammed " is then resumed, 
of which the following is the briefest sketch. God wishing to 
manifest Himself, formed this Light of Mohammed a thousand 


years before the creation ; and it performed in the heavens the 
duties of circuit and obeisance for a long space of time. Then 
formed into a substance, it was divided into ten portions, viz. 
the throne, the tablet of decrees, the sun, moon, etc. ; and, last of 
all, the SPIRIT OF MOHAMMED. This spirit spent 70,000 years in 
adoration around the throne of God, and 5000 upon the footstool. 
Gabriel and other angels then descending, obtained, by order of the 
Lord, a small portion of our earth ; and the earth, hearing the 
name of Mohammed, split asunder and produced from the Prophet's 
grave a white fragment like camphor. Wrought up with aromatics, 
it became the essence of Mohammed's being, and was carried 
round the world by Gabriel, who sounded the glad tidings to all 
creation, " This is the earth of the beloved of the Lord of all 
worlds, the intercessor for the guilty," etc. Long before the 
creation of Adam, the precious emblem remained suspended like a 
lamp or sparkling star from the highest heavens. It was, in fact, 
the "Faith" which, according to the Goran, was offered to all 
creatures ; but shunned by all. Bash man alone accepted the 
responsibility. The " Light of Mohammed " thus given to man, 
beamed forth from the forehead of Adam. It descended from 
generation to generation, through a favoured chain, and at last 
shone in the brow of Abdallah, the Prophet's father. 

The prodigies related of Abdallah may be imagined from 
the extravagancies of such a narrative. At times a brilliant 
lustre encircled everything around him : the earth saluted him as 
" The Light of Mohammed " ; at his approach the withered trees 
revived, and again drooped as he departed ; idol demons entreated 
him not to come near for their destruction ; while his grandfather, 
Abdal Muttalib, prophesied, saying, " Hail, Abdallah ! From 
thy loins shall be begotten the lord of the prophets," etc. Then 
follows the transfer of this light to Amina, Mohammed's mother. 
The night of Mohammed's conception was marked by prodigies in 
heaven and in earth : 200 damsels of the Coreish died of envy : 
the din of the angels' joy was heard even on earth : Gabriel 
affixed a green crescent to the ELaaba, etc. At last comes the 
birth of Mohammed, and pious Mohammedans are stirred up by 
hymns and prayers to rejoice and to bless the Prophet. The 


prayers are composed of stale repetitions, but the hymns are 
curious, and might help us to a model Christmas hymn adapted 
to the native taste. [With this view in the original article two of 
the Native hymns were added; and, as such, are worth while 
referring to at p. 18 of the Calcutta Review for 1S52. The 
jubilant tone might well become our Urdoo hymn-book. One 
opens thus : 

From the bearers of Heaven's Throne, a voice : 
Raise high the majesty of Ahmed ! 
Born, hath been the mighty King ! 
Born, intercessor of the Judgment Day ! 
Born, the Prince of both the worlds ! 

And so on. The other : 

Islam, Sun of Law and Truth ! 
Islam, help of helpless poor ! 
Islam, source of earth's creation ! 
Islam, best of guides and souls' delight ! 

Berage I vainly seek elsewhere. . , __ 

b And so on.] l 

Here are a few of the wonders that followed the birth. 
Amina was terrified by a fearful noise, when immediately a white 
bird came, and, laying its wing upon her bosom, restored her confid- 
ence ; she became thirsty, and anon a cup of a delicious beverage, 
white as milk and sweet as honey, was presented by an unseen 
hand ; heavenly voices and tread of steps were heard around her, but 
no person was seen : a sheet was let down from heaven, and a voice 
proclaimed that the blessed child was to be screened from mortal 
view : birds of Paradise, with ruby beaks and wings of emerald, 
strutting along, regaled her with surpassing warbling; aromas 
from mid-heaven were scattered all around her, etc. No sooner 
was the infant born than, prostrating himself on the ground, the 
little creature raised its hands to heaven and prayed earnestly 
for the pardon of his people. Then, swept away in a cloud of 
light, he was carried to the four quarters of creation, that all 

i [These hymns are printed in the Urdoo character, and therefore not 
inserted here ; but they are worth looking at in the original by those 
familiar with the language. W.M.] 


things might recognise the glories of Mohammed, and know 
that in him every excellency of previous prophets centred, 
the vicegerency of Adam, the beauty of Joseph, the grace of 
Jesus, etc. 

Safia, Mohammed's aunt, was present at his birth, and testifies 
to jsix memorable incidents. First, the new-born child performed 
obeisance, and prayed with a slow and distinct voice, " Oh Lord, 
pardon my people, pardon my people ! " Second, in clear and 
eloquent tones, he repeated the Creed, "I bear witness that 
there is no God but the Lord alone, and that I am his apostle." 
Third, the light of Mohammed obscured the lamp. Fourth, she 
was about to wash the babe, when a voice from the unseen world 
said, " Oh Safia, trouble not thyself, I have sent forth the blessed 
Mohammed washed and pure. Fifth, he was born circumcised 
and with his navel cut. Sixth, on his holy back the seal of 
prophecy was visible in letters of light, more resplendent than the 
morning star, viz. "There is no god but the Lord," etc. Three 
persons, brilliant as the sun, appeared from heaven. One held a 
silver goblet ; the second an emerald tray ; the third a silver towel ; 
they washed him seven times, then blessed and saluted him with 
a glorious address as the Prince of mankind. 

Abdal Muttalib was, at the time, in the Kaaba, where a num- 
ber of prodigies and voices from the holy temple apprised him of 
the wonderful event He instantly repaired to Amiua, and finding 
that the light had departed from her, insisted on seeing his grand- 
child. She informed him that its invisible guardians had ordered 
that no one should see it for three days. Abdal Muttalib there- 
upon fell into a rage, and threatened to kill either himself or her. 
She was about to produce the child, when one with a drawn 
sword stepped between, and exclaimed, that no mortal should set 
eyes upon the babe, until all the favoured angels had visited him. 
Abdal Muttalib was affrighted, and let the sword drop from his 
hands. All the kings of the earth were struck with dumbness, 
and remained inarticulate for a day and a night: the vault 
of Kesra was rent; fourteen of its battlements fell to the 
ground, etc. 

After much of this description, there succeeds in great detail 


the story of Hallma, the Prophet's nurse. This legend, in its 
earliest recorded form, is given by Sprenger with a sufficiency of 
fabulous matter; but Ghul&m Imam's version advances incom- 
parably further. A few of the marvels of the Prophet's childhood 
may be added here : 

There is a tradition, that the Lord of the universe, the blessed Moham- 
med, used to advance as much in one day, as other children in a year. When 
two months old, he made himself understood by signs and beckonings ; in 
the third month he arose of himself and stood upright ; in the fourth he 
began to walk, taking hold of the wall, and in the fifth, without assistance ; 
in the sixth month he could walk fast, and in the seventh he could run ; in 
the eighth month he could talk, and in the ninth speak with the most 
perfect eloquence. After the tenth month he contended with the boys in 
archery, and when in his second year he appeared like a full-grown youth. 
Hallma adds, that the first words which issued from his blessed 
mouth were the Creed : that he never took up anything in his 
hands without saying, "In the name of the Lord": that his 
infantile gear was never dirtied as is usual with children, nor 
ever required to be. washed, etc. 

Mohammed himself, in after years, related to his uncle Abbas 
that when an infant, his nurse happened to tie his hand rather 
tight, and that he wept sorely. But the moon addressed him 
thus, "If a drop of thy tears falls to the earth, it will never 
again be green and fresh, until the judgment day ; so for the 
love of my people, I refrained from crying, and the moon talking 
with me kept me engaged with her in prattle, lest I should cry." 
Abbas expressed his astonishment that his nephew should re- 
member incidents that occurred when he was six weeks old, when 
Mohammed only added to his wonder, by telling him that he 
perfectly recollected events which happened when in his mother's 
womb, as the noise of the eternal pen on the tablet of fate, and 
the sound of the sun and moon making obeisance before the 
Almighty ! 

After a long description of the Prophet's person and manners, 
this curious passage follows : 

Mohammed Husein, manager of the Mttfwmmedy press, respectfully urges 
upon all those who love the Prophet of the Lord, that they transfer to the 
mirror of their hearts, this ennobled description of the personal appearance 
of the Prophet, Which is a literal translation from the traditions of ftrmidzy j 


in order that, if perchance in a true vision they should see the blessed 
Prophet himself, they may know the vision to he a real one, and give thanks 
to the Lord for it. Because, accordingto his own words, " whoso hath seen 
me, hath seen the truth" ; that is. "whoever hath seen me in a vision, hath 
really and truly seen me, the blessed Mohammed," and such an one shall 
escape the deceptions of Satan : for Satan is unable to assume the glorious 
appearance described above, but ofttimes shows himself in other forms, 
and claiming to be a prophet beguiles ignorant worshippers, in their visions 
and reveries. 

The legend of Mohammed's chest being opened, follows in great 
detail. But the rest of his early history, the death of Amina 
and Abdal Muttalib; Abu T&lib's guardianship; Mohammed's 
marriage ; his throes of inspiration ; conversion of his first dis- 
ciples, etc., are all disposed of in a couple of pages! On the 
subject of miracles our author finds a more congenial theme. 

To give one hundredth, or even a thousandth part of the famous 
miracles performed by the holy Prophet even if the waves of the ocean 
were turned into pens, its waters into ink, and the expanse of heaven into 
one vast scroll would be utterly impossible. The least of them are as 
follows ; 

The absence of shadow (which is followed by a most blasphemous 
application 1 ) : the splitting of the moon : that birds would not 
fly over, nor flies alight, on him: evidence given by a corpse 
interred 100 years before, by the stones, by a porpoise, and by a 
golden peacock which issued from the rocks \ all this is stated to 
be too "Qtinr"""" to require further description. The Mir&j, or 
heavenly ascent,^ccupies eleven pages of the strangest absurdities 
and extravagancies* 

Passing over the rest of his career, both at Mecca and Medina 
the author hastens to the last scenes of the Prophet's life, which 
we deems it necessary to introduce in an apologetic strain, as if it 
here a matter of astonishment that he, for whom Adam, nay, for 
whom 18,000 worlds, were created, should be required to die. 
1 " Ah ! ye who love the blessed Mohammed ! a beautiful thought of the 
amorous class, here occurs to me, which will be pleasing to the pure-hearted 
Stifles. It is this, that God Almighty declareth Himself to be in love with 
the great source of love (Mohammed) : but the lover doth not like to see his 
beloved accompanied by a shadow ' 

"No shadow near thee let me see, 
Lest love beget fond jealousy!" 


On his deathbed, Gabriel comes with messages of condolence and 
inquiry from the Lord, and offers him life and health, should he 
desire it. Again he comes, accompanied by Azrael the angel of 
death, whom Fatima, taking to be an Arab, refuses to admit. 
Gabriel tells the Prophet that Azrael was to obey his every 
order, and either take his spirit or retire at once, as he preferred. 
Mohammed, in consternation, applies for counsel to Gabriel, who 
pictures to him the glories of Paradise, "the black-eyed houries 
adorned from head to foot, waiting in expectation of his glorious 
approach." Mohammed, re-assured by these exciting prospects, 
gives command to Azrael, and dies. 

Till the hour of his burial, a thick darkness overspread 
Medina, so that one could not see his hand or his neighbour's 
face. 1 When. Abbas lifted up the winding sftfeet, the lips of the 
deceased were seen to move and to repeat the same prayer for his 
people, as that which issued from his lips when newly born. The 
angels offered to convey his body to Paradise, but Mohammed 
preferred not to be separated from his fellows whom he had come 
to save ; a fact which is thus improved : 

Ye lovers of Mohammed ! consider for a moment the wonderful compassion 
and grace which showered such favours upon us, unworthy handfuls of the 
dust ! verily, it is incumbent upon us to sacrifice our very selves for the sake 
of such a compassionate Intercessor, and to become ennobled by visiting 
his glorious tomb and sacred resting-place. 

We have already trespassed too far, but one other extract we 
must add : 

In his last illness Mohammed entered the Mosque of Medina, which was 
filled to overflowing; and as his final request, besought that if any ono 
had suffered wrong or injury at his hands, he would there without cere- 
mony declare it, and taking retribution for the injury done, thus enable 
him to go to heaven with an easy conscience. Hearing this, Ok&sha ex- 
claimed, "Oh Prophet of the Lord, on a certain stage when marching with 
tbee, thou once without due cause scourgedst my back. I should never 

1 The traditions of Wackidi speak of the gloom (social) cast over Medina 
by Mohammed's death : this was transformed into a physical gloom ; and 
that again magnified into thick darkness. "Anis (Mohammed's servant) 
said that no day was so light as that in which Mohammed entered Medina, 
and none so dark and dismal as that in which he died." The metaphor 
grew to be a fact. 


have desired retribution, but when tliou so straitly commandedst, I felt it 
incumbent upon me to declare the matter." The Prophet answered : "The 
Lord have mercy upon thee, Ok&shat Dost thou desire retribution ? " " Yea : 
apostle of God ! " Then the Lord of the universe, the blessed Mohammed, 
commanded Bal&l to go to Fatima's house, and "Bring with thee," said he, 
" that scourge, which I used to take with me in the wars." Balal, in con- 
sternation and distress, proceeded to that noble lady's house and brought 
the scourge. Then the Prophet made it over to Okasha, and sitting in the 
courtyard of the Mosque, said, " The mercy of the Lord be upon thee, Okdshat 
Take thy retribution without fear or favour." Okasha receiving the whip, 
prepared himself to administer stripes upon the Prophet. But a mighty 
noise, like that of the judgment day, arose from the assembled throng. The 
Prophet's companions, one after another, stepped forward, and expostulated 
with Ok&sha on the fearful temerity of scourging Mohammed, the Messenger 
of God, who was moreover in so infirm a state, and close upon his heavenly 
journey. They offered to receive upon their own backs a thousand lashes in 
his stead ; but Okasha replied, that vicarious retribution was not permitted 
by the Lord. At last Mohammed, becoming impatient , said, " Perform thy 
work quickly, oh Okasha ; God forbid that death should rob me of the 
opportunity, and that this claim should remain against me to all eternity." 
Okasha replied, " Oh blessed of the Lord ! when thou scourgedst me I was 
naked, and thou art at this time clad in raiment." The blessed Prophet 
thereupon took off his raiment, and forthwith the whole assembly burst into 
the wildest grief and passionate lamentation ; and the angels nearest to the 
Throne poured forth their deprecations, expostulating with the Lord, etc. 
At last Ok&sha arose, and kissed the seal of prophecy, the signet of 
apostleship : and then he spake as follows : " Oh beloved of the Lord I It 
was my earnest desire that at thy last breath I should be ennobled by look- 
ing upon the seal of prophecy. And by this stratagem of retribution, I have 
obtained the blessed fortune. Neither didst thou, roost holy Prophet, ever 
touch me with the scourge, nor could I have had the temerity to demand 
The Prophet invoked a blessing upon Okasha, and retired to his own abode. 

From beginning to end the tale is a pure work of fancy, 
early tradition containing not a vestige of it. 

Here, once more, is a common type of the childish legends 
by which later traditionists have endeavoured to discredit our 
Scriptures : 

A narrator relates that there was, in tho kingdom of Syria, a Jew who, 
while busily engaged one Sabbath day in perusing the Old Testament, per- 
ceived the name of the blessed Prophet written in four places ; and out of 
spite he cast that leaf into the fire. On the following day, ho found the same 
name written in eight places ; again he burnt the page. On the third day 


he found it written in twelve places. The man marvelled exceedingly, saying 
within himself, " The oftener I cut out this name from the Old Testament, 
the more do I find it written therein. If I go on at this rate, I shall soon 
have the entire Scriptures filled with the name." At last he became desirous 
of visiting the Prophet, and, filled with this anxiety, by day and by night he 
travelled, from stage to stage, till he reached Medina. When he arrived, 
Mohammed had been dead three days. His followers concealed the fact from 
the Jew, fearing it might stagger his faith. At last, learning the truth, he 
tumbled senseless on the ground, and, beating his head, called out : " Alas ! 
alas 1 my journey is in vain. Would I had never been born ! " He then 
entreated to be shown the clothes Mohammed wore, and they were brought 
forth from Fatima's house, patched in seven places. Immediately he 
smelled the fragrance of them, and clasping them to his eyes, exclaimed, 
" Let my soul be a sacrifice to the sweetness of thy fragrance, oh Mohammed ! 
Alas, that I missed the sight of thee ! " He then repaired to the tomb, 
repeated the Creed, and prayed thus : " If my cry be accepted in the court 
of heaven, then call me, this very moment, to the presence of my beloved 1 " 
He fell to the ground, exclaiming, " Oh Mohammed ! oh Mohammed ! " 
and expired in the arms of his love. 

It may be thought that far too much attention and space have 
been allotted to this pitiful work. But a little reflection may 
justify the pains we have devoted to it. 

For, first, the book is a type and reflection of the Mohamme- 
dan mind of India ; credulous beyond belief. It is an important 
.illustration of the position laid down in a previous number of this 
I Review, that although Mohammedans are captious and pseudo- 
critical to the utmost when attacking other religions, they are 
, incredibly simple and superstitious, it may be wilfully blind, in 
reference to their own. 

This biography has also been favourably received by the 
mass of the people : it has been eagerly bought up, and has gone 
through repeated editions. 1 It therefore bears the stamp of popular 
approval. Further, its author is a man of letters and intelligence : 
fox many years he held a ministerial office in our highest court of 

1 The last edition was forwarded to us by the publisher at Agra, just as 
this article was going to press, with the following note : "The work 
MmlHd Sharif, composed by our patron Ghulaxn Imftm ShahSd, is well 
known throughout every kingdom and district. In such demand is it, that 
ten or twelve editions, and thousands of copies, have been printed at 


judicature ; and was there promoted to an honourable post, imply- 
ing that he possessed more than usual intelligence and ability. 
The work of such a man may fairly be viewed as a guage of the 
religious mind of Moslem India. And hence, as an index of the 
ideas and dogmas against which we have to contend, too much 
stress cannot be laid upon such writings. It is incumbent upon 
us to know well our adversaries' ground ; and it is only by such 
inquiries as the present, that we can hope to reconnoitre it. 

It is very sad to find, amongst educated men, such an utter 
want of the faculty of historical criticism, as we see here. With 
persons of this class, our great difficulty will lie in placing before 
them the means for discriminating the grains of truth from the 
masses of fabricated traditions. The Bombay biography has but 
alluded to the subject. Even for the unbiassed mind and intelli- 
gence of the European, the work of disentangling truth from 
falsehood in these latter-day traditions, is one encompassed by 
great difficulties: how much more difficult then to lead the 
Mohammedans themselves to true principles of criticism ! It is 
however a task towards which much has been contributed already, 
by the studies of our learned men ; and we should not shrink 
from its further prosecution. 

The study is also useful in pressing upon us the necessity 
of extreme care, that the historical details placed before our 
fellow-subjects are thoroughly correct. Under the best possible 
auspices, they will receive our advances with distrust and our 
criticisms with incredulity. But if we give to them such 
histories as our English Lives of Mohammed have generally been, 
we shall put ourselves in an incomparably worse position. Per- 
ceiving want of accuracy in our narratives, and imperfection in our 
means of information, they will naturally doubt all our assertions, 
and summarily deny our conclusions. But if, on the contrary, 
we carefully avail ourselves of the original sources which the 

Lucknow, and are still being printed. There mil be found hardly a village 
or town in the country whither the book has not reached." This is, no 
doubt, somewhat exaggerated, but it is still proof of immense popularity. 
The new Agra edition is considerably enlarged, containing ninety-four quarto 
pages. A great deal of TTrdoo poetry has also been added to it. 


investigations of a Sprenger and a Weil have placed in our hands 
(authorities as good as any open to themselves, and far better 
than those to which they are in the habit of referring), they will 
be compelled to give credit to our facts and listen with deference 
to our conclusions. If we can, from flwir own best sources, prove 
to them that they are deceived and superstitious in many im- 
portant points, and can thus establish the untenableness of some 
of their positions ; while we at the same time admit all statements 
that are grounded in fact; we shall have gone a great way to 
excite honest inquiry and induce the sincere investigator to follow 
our lead. 

The native mind is at present not insensible to the subject. 
The TTrdoo biography of Ghul&n Im&n is by no means a 
solitary instance. There are many others. One of the most 
remarkable is, perhaps, that which appears weekly in an TTrdoo 
newspaper, the Asad ul AkhMr, published at Agra. Ever since 
its commencement in June 1847, the life of Mohammed 
has formed the leading article of this paper, and the subject is 
not yet concluded. This biography is consequently much more 
extensive and elaborate than Ghultim Imam's "Nativity," and 
goes with great detail into the historical traditions and legendary 
narratives, translated mostly from the late and credulous Persian 
biographers of Mohammed, whose narratives are possessed of no 
historical weight whatever. 1 

That an article on the biography of Mohammed should have 
regularly appeared for the last five years as the leader in a 
miscellaneous Urdoo newspaper, is certainly not one of the least 
remarkable signs of the times, and warrants the hope that 
intelligent and thinking Mohammedans are turning their attention 

* The editor, Kamrtid-deen is not very familiar with Arabic, but even had 
he been qualified to consult the ancient Arabic authorities, it is doubtful 
whether he would have done so, as the Persian writers, with their marvellous 
additions, arc the authorities generally referred to by natives. The earlier 
portion of these articles is translated from the Maddrij ul Nubtiwat, the later 
from the Rouxs&t at Ahbdb, Koxnrud-deen wau long employed by Pfander, 
and assisted him in translating his works into Urdoo. He is therefore 
thoroughly acquainted with the Christian arguments. His style is elegant 
aud attractive. 


to the historical evidences of their faith, and are comparing them 
with those of Christianity. 

These stirrings, however, of the native mind bear but in- 
directly upon Christianity. Let us inquire what has been done of 
late directly towards the MOHAMMEDAN CONTROVERSY. And first 
it may be stated, that large reprints of Dr. Pfander's treatises, 
both in Urdoo and Persian, have been published during the last 
few years. This has been effected by the contributions of the 
public (to whom an appeal was, not in vain, made in a former 
number of this Review), and by the ever liberal aid of the noble 
London Tract Society. 

The long threatened work of Pfander's opponent, Syud Ali 
Hassan, 1 made its appearance in A.H. 1261 (A.D. 1845). It 
contains 806 large octavo pages; and is denominated " Kills i 
IsTiFslR," or the " BOOK OF QUESTIONS." It is written in an easy 
but desultory style, rambling from one subject to another, with 
little logical precision or arrangement. The first four " Questions " 
(46 pp.) are devoted to the refutation of the doctrine of the 
Trinity. The next ten (137 pp.) attack the genuineness and 
authority of the Bible. The main argument here is deduced from 
variations in the different Oriental versions, each variety in the 
translations being triumphantly adduced as evidence of variety 
and corruption in the Original I The word of man thus is 
mingled with the word of God, throughout our Scriptures ; and, 
unlike the Goran, there is no proof that every writer was inspired. 
There is further no proof of the continued existence of the several 

1 See a former Article (No. VIII.), where it is noticed that Ali Hassan 
"is now printing a work at Lucknow in refutation of Christianity, and in 
defence of the Goran, at which he has been labouring for fifteen years, and 
which is, by the way, to contain a full reply to the Mtzdn as well as the JDfti 
Haqq." It was stated in the same article, that this author, as well as 
Ghul&m Im&m, was an officer in the Sudder Court at Agra. After publish- 
ing his book, and holding his controversy with Ffander, he was promoted to 
the independent post of Moonsif, or native Judge ; -a fact which must have 
satisfactorily proved to his countrymen that, under the Company's govern- 
ment, every man is free to hold, and publicly to maintain, his own religious 
views, without prejudice to his worldly prosperity or official standing. 


books, from the time of their alleged authors to that of their 
publication ; e.g., from the time of Ezra to Ptolemy, and from 
that of the apostles to Constantino. The fifteenth Question 
asserts that the miracles of Mohammed are the only ones of any 
prophet that can be proved by testimony, those of all others being 
dependent upon his evidence (pp. 183-245). The sixteenth 
holds that, notwithstanding the corruption of the Bible, it con- 
tains more prophecies in favour of Mohammed than in favour of 
Christ This subject is treated at great length, and with much 
casuistry (pp. 245-385). The seventeenth and main proposition 
is that the same objections may be brought against Moses, Jesus 
and the other prophets, and their books, as against Mohammed. 
Under this head is embraced the refutation of the Mizan, and 
Din Haqq (pp. 385-709). The eighteenth proposition closes the 
book, with a chapter on the beauties and excellencies of Islam. 

The work is written in pleasing language, and in a more 
respectful style than generally characterises such productions : 
but this praise is only comparative, for bigotry and pride often 
overbear the author's natural good feeling, and dictate passages 
respecting Christianity which the dogmas, even of Islam, should 
have led him to shrink from. Added to the usual materials 
brought forward by Moslems on such occasions, there is an 
ostentatious display of some shallow English learning and ideas 
which the author has picked up from translations and conversa- 
tion. On the whole, the spirit of the work, though abounding 
with the usual blasphemies which make the ears of Christians to 
tingle, is better and more reasonable than we usually find. A few 
specimens, taken pretty much at random, will, perhaps, be interest- 
ing to the reader. 

Thirteen pages are spent in labouring to prove that Mohammed 
is " the Prince of this world " spoken of in the New Testament. 
In disposing of the objections to this view, he endeavours to 
explain away the text, c< the whole world lieth in wickedness " : 
and finding that other versions translate the latter words "in the 
wicked one," he adds : 

Behold t Two copies give it one way, and three the other. To whicli 
shall the preference be given? How conclusively the corruption of the 


original text is here proved! This is what I oall corruption (tdkrtf) 
(p. 386). 

In treating of the variations, or, as he will have it, corruptions 
of the MSS. of the Bible, such arguments as the following 
frequently occur : 

Urbanus vin., of the Romish Church, Sergius Haruni, and other 
learned Christians, admit that in the original manuscripts, both Hebrew 
and Greek, some degree of corruption lias crept in, and that words and 
modes of construction, opposed to the genius of the original languages, are 
found in these books. See now, how my case is proved even by confession 
of the defendants ! There is this attempted explanation, indeed, that these 
errors originated in the carelessness of the writers, or want of ability in the 
translators. But such a fanciful theory cannot impugn the confirmation 
afforded by the concession to my claim. Again, they say that the Holy 
Ghost, and the prophets themselves, were accustomed to write in the same 
strange and erroneous manner (ghcdat paZat}. But this is in effect my 
very argument, that (in the words of the Goran) "they write passages 
with their hands, and then say this is from the Lord," i,e. they say of 
what they themselves composed, that is the word of God. Now to 
attribute such errors to the Holy Ghost and to the prophets, is the 
same as attributing them to God (p. 433). 

He endeavours to rebut Pf ander's argument, that the Bible being 
from an early date in the hands of multitudes throughout the 
world, it was impossible all should have united in corrupting it, 
in the following manner : 

Twelfth proof. It is evidently ^possible, that any book, say the Shah, 
Nameh, might be in the hands of every man throughout the whole world, 
and that every man might, in his own place, make the same alteration 
therein. This is not an intellectual impossibility ; at the very most it 
would be a miracle. Seeing, then, that this is not a logical impossibility, 
the proof of it might be established by the same species of evidence as that 
by which the mission of Moses or Jesus is established : that is to say, by 
him (Mohammed) who was endowed with prophecy and showed evident 
miracles, and as the last of the prophets hath evidenced both facts 
equally by an inspired declaration. Copies of the Bible, however, at that 
early epoch, were not spread abroad to so great an extent as is now the case, 
hut remained for the most part in the hands of those alone whose perfidy 
was foretold by Jesus and his apostles ; and since these afterwards reached 
you through the hands of people whom you yourselves testify that for 
centuries they held an undivided power and authority over the book ;-*-it 
results that its corruption would not amount even to a miracle, and must 


consequently be admitted on the testimony of the Prophet of Islam. 
Under any circumstances, the assertions of such corruption cannot be 
regarded as reflecting on the prophetical claim of Mohammed (as if he had 
advanced an intellectual impossibility). And the great injustice and de- 
parture from right which ye commit, is this, that ye do not regard the 
assertion of a logical impossibility to be! an argument against a claim to 
prophecy, while you here hold the assertion of a simple miracle to be so. 
That is to say, the assertion of the incarnation and manifestation of God, 
and of the equality of that which is produced to that which produces it 
(doctrines which you hold with regard to Jesus on the authority of the 
Bible), is not regarded by you as falsifying the claim to prophecy ; and 
yet ye hold a statement regarding the corruption of the Bible, which would 
not amount even to a common miracle, to be a disproof of the prophetical 
rank of the blessed Prophet of Islam. Verily, this is a marvellous thing 
(pp. 438-440). 

Pfander had referred to the evidence of the Goran itself as 
proving that our Scriptures were not altered prior to Mohammed's 
appearance, and to the evidence of ancient manuscripts that 
they had not been altered since ; and here is an example of the 
way in which Ali Hassan avoids the conclusion : 
According to tho above interpretation of the passage, 1 it might indeed 
bo held that the prophecies regarding the last of the prophets were not 
corrupted until his appearance, else why were the people in expectation of 
his coming, and ready to believe upon him) My reply is, that even 
supposing this argument to bo correct, all that would be proved therefrom, 
would be that only those passages containing predictions of Mohammed 
remained uncomipted until his appearing; not by any means, that 
throughout tho whole Bible no other passage had been corrupted. The 
Padre's deduction that .the entire Bible remained intact, thus falls to the 

And if any one say that the passages which contain those predictions 
(assorted in the Goran to have been altered after Mohammed's appearing) 
aro still identically the same with tho corresponding places in the ancient 
manuscripts to which the Padre has referred : my reply is that the naked 
claim of the Padre, as to the existence of manuscripts thirteen or fifteen 
hundred years old, is not worthy of being listened to, especially as his 
stories contradictions and bigotry have already been fully exposed. That 
paper aud writing should remain, so many ages, and yet be legible, would be 
miraculous indeed. Some Pope, or other such personage, in order to cast 

1 Sura xcviii. 3: "Neither wore those who possessed tho Scriptures, 
divided among themselves, until after tho dear evidence (Islam) had come 
unto them." See Sale's note. 


suspicion on the Mussulmans, must have produced forged manuscripts, and 
declared they were older than the time of Mohammed. It is moreover very 
unlikely that the character of such a manuscript could be even deciphered 
by any one nowadays (pp. 448, 449). 

To Pfander's account of the ancient manuscripts of the New 
Testament, the Vatican, Alexandrine, etc., and his explanation of 
their value, Ali Hassan makes the following reply : 

It is evident that the Padre Sahib is not on terms of intimacy with any 
of the distinguished gentlemen who preside in our Courts, otherwise he 
would have known that if contending parties adduce ancient documents 
in favour of their claims, no reliance whatever can he placed on the mere 
ancientness of the paper, and of the date. If then in worldly matters the 
oldness of the paper is no test of the age of the writing, how shall it become 
a test in religious affairs ? And, especially, is this to be doubted, when we 
recollect that the heads of the Christian religion in those days, were not 
such as we find the English gentlemen now to he, but were very perfidious 
and deceptive in their faith, such as they whom they call "Pope" and 
"Papa." Therefore, until due proof be advanced, I cannot concede the 
ancientness of these manuscripts, as assumed by the Padre. And the more 
so, as such a conclusion would be in opposition to the commentators of the 
Bible, Urbanus vni., etc., for if these ancient manuscripts bo really 
genuine, whence and how came the corruptions of the text, which they 
admit to exist. But all this reasoning would only then be necessary, if it 
were really admitted, that the Padre spoke the truth, and that these manu- 
scripts really do exist, bear the date of completion inscribed on them, 
and are clearly legible ; otherwise, the whole statement seems to me to be 
unfounded (pp. 454, 455). 

With respect to the writings of the fathers, and the quotations 
from the Scriptures contained therein, the following is one of 
his replies : 

It is evident, from the way in which the Reverend gentleman speaks, 
that these books are not written like our commentaries in which the 
entire text is quoted verse by verse; but that the words of Jesus 
appear in them as in our scientific or religious works, where the Goran 
and the traditions are often referred to. But have I ever held that the 
whole of the Old and New Testaments has been altered, or that the pure 
Gospel was not written by some of the apostles ? Thus even admitting, 
which I do not, that these books are really true and correct, and the 
authority of their writers acknowledged, their correspondence with the 
manuscripts handed down, would neither injure my argument nor benefit 
yours (pp. 458, 459). 


The Maulvi's remarks on the advantages of conquest, and its 
legality, as a means of spreading Islam, are very curious, 
especially as he makes many references to occidental history, 
to the spread of Christianity in Britain under Edgar, and to its 
present favourable prospects under the prestige of British victory 
in India. 

In concluding his answer to the Mizdiwl-Haqq, our Author 
explains why he has not quoted his adversary at length, and 
answered him word for word. "If these unprofitable disquisitions," 
he says, " were confined by the Padres to two or three treatises, and 

ness of their assertions had once been proved, other Padres would 
hide their heads, and English gentlemen would keep them back 
from advancing such absurdities in future, then, indeed, there 
were some object in replying to their arguments word by word. 
But such is far from being the case : nay, thousands of Padres 
earn their bread by this very trade, and their livelihood consists 
in attacking the religions of other people, quite apart from the 
consideration of whether those religions are supported by reason 
or not. They are constantly writing and printing new treatises, 
without any sort of rational ground; but simply in order to 
support their families, they labour night and day at this work. 
Besides, if you prove never so well the unreasonableness of a 
Padre's statements, it seems to have no effect whatever upon 
others, for we find no one endeavouring to persuade such a 
writer to give up these irrational arguments. Seeing therefore 
that it does not constitute our livelihood to spread abroad 
religion, and that English gentlemen, though they be lovers of 
fair argument, yet maintain only their own Padres in such 
service, and give nothing to the professors of other religions for 
the same purpose ; Say, how can it be expected of us to reply 
word for word to the arguments of these Padres 1 Indeed, we 
ought to regard ourselves as fortunate in not being hindered 
by ' the Officers of the Sirkar Company, from replying to our 
adversaries 1 objections ; and such of these Officers as are of a 
philosophical turn of mind, can themselves appreciate a well- 
framed refutation. The real objections, too, are confined to 


narrow ground; it seemed, therefore, sufficient to reply only 
to them "(PP- 605-607). 

Ali Hassan does not treat ..the Din Haqq with so much 
respect even as the Mizdn-ul-Haqq. 

Know, says lie, that whatever grounds of reasonable dispute, such 
as they are, the Christians have against the Moslems, are (along with 
much unreasonable matter) contained in the Mfa&n-ul-Haqq. Now, as to the 
other treatise, the DfoHaqq ki tahqtq, wherever in some little measure 
it is the shadow of certain portions of the Mtzdn-ul-Haqq, it is upon 
the whole reasonable. But the remaining, and by far the greatest, portion 
is much more unreasonable than the unreasonable portions of this Mfadn. 

A single instance will suffice. The Din Haqq, after quoting 
the Prophets, and also secular writers, Jewish Christian and 
Roman, in respect of Christ's death, proceeds to say that if 
Mohammed had possessed the slightest acquaintance with history, 
he would never have written of the crucifixion as in the Coran 
he has. The Maulvi denies the prophecies, and then proceeds : 
The Padre does not perceive that the Coran itself admits, nay 
expressly asserts, the fact that both Jews and Christians hold the cruci- 
fixion of Jesus ; and yet he writes, that the author of the Coran was 
unacquainted with this historical fact! Such a babbler shall have his 
answer from the Lord. Reflect for a moment, and hide thy face with con- 
fusion. Say ; What advantage could he who gave forth the Coran have 
had in view when he asserted in opposition to vast and influential multitudes 
that Jesus was not slain, but had ascended to heaven in his mortal body 1 
Had he made his assertion to accord with the views of these immense 
multitudes, then indeed he had gained an object, viz., the lessening of 
their opposition, and he had obtained likewise an argument to strengthen 
his opposition to the Divinity of Christ, that, namely, drawn from the fact 
of his mortality (p. 637). 

He then goes on to say that the Gospel is perfectly correct, 
because the semblance of Christ was actually taken and crucified ; 
" but there is no replying, to the argument you bring against us, 
viz., that where we agree with the Bible, it is plagiarism where 
we disagree, it is false 1 " 1 No less than eighteen pages are de 

i It is curious to observe in what light this Maulvi regards the 
practice of dancing. He turns the tables against the Dtn Saqq in 
which certain indelicate passages in the Coran are censured, by asserting 
that v)e are in the habit of justifying indelicate practices by the authority of 
the Bible. " Miriam's dancing with cymbals is adduced by Christians as 


voted to the explaining away, with extraordinary evasions and in- 
genuity, the plain declarations of the Gospel on the subject of the 
crucifixion; but it is needless to multiply examples of this style of 
reasoning. It has rather been our object to give specimens of 
the more sensible and less unreasonable portions of the book. 

In 1847, Pfander published a treatise called HALL UL ISHKAL, 
or Solution of Difficulties; being a reply to KASHP UL ASTAR 
and KITAB i ISTIFSR. The Kaslif uL Asidr has already been 
noticed at some length in this Review. Pfander's rejoinder is 
brief and pertinent. It is followed by a translation of the 
remarks on the Kashful Astdr which appeared in this Review. 
Then follow ten questions put to Pfander by a Maulvi Syad 
Abdallah Sabzwari of Lucknow, with their replies. 1 After 
these comes the reply to Ali Hassan's Kitdl i Istifsdr, the 
work we have just been reviewing. The chief points of the 
Maulvi's desultory attacks are ably noticed and well refuted. 
The book concludes with the whole correspondence which passed 
between Pfander and Ali Hassan, and which has been previously 
described in the article referred to above. Dr. Pfander has not, 
since the publication of this volume, entered into any further 
written discussions with the Mohammedans. But although this 

proving the innoconcy of any kind of dancing : and supported by this and 
other instances in the Bible, your countrymen take their wives, daughters, 
and sisters to dancing parties, and regard the custom as one approved by 
religion : nay, you look npon the kissing of the grown-up daughters, sisters 
and wives of other people, and passing the hand round their waists, pretty 
much in the same light as we do for men to shake hands with each other, or 
to fondle little children ; i.&, as right and proper. If it be really thus as 
I havo heard, and such things are, in truth, not held by you to be forbidden 
by tho Divine law, then it is deep disgrace to yon " (p. 622). 

This passage (of which from necessity we havo softened and modified some 
of tho expressions) shows that either the Maulvi's informants or his own 
bigotry have greatly misrepresented our social practices ; still it is matter 
for reflection whether there may not be some of our practices offering to the 
Mussulmans a vulnerable point of which they are not slow to avail them- 
selves in their attacks upon our faith, and self-conceit with their own. 

i A translation of these appeared in the Christian, Intelligencer, and was 
the cause of some correspondence in that journal. 


controversy is for the present suspended, and it is perhaps well 
that it should be so for a time, it must not be supposed that the 
native mind is inactive, or that the attention of intelligent and 
thinking men is withdrawn from the subject. The following 
extracts from the report of the Agra Tract Society for 1852 will 
be read with interest, as giving satisfactory evidence on this 
point : 

At Dehli copies of the Scriptures, and Christian books of a controversial 
character, have been in great demand in consequence of the controversy 
between some Hindoos and the Cazee mentioned above. Many Moham- 
medans seem to have been aroused from the slumber of their blind 
confidence in their Prophet and his Book by the astounding fact now 
presented to them, that they are attacked not by the Christians only, but 
even by the Hindoos, and that with a result not in any way flattering to 
themselves. To prepare for the battle, they have betaken themselves to 
reading our books, many, no doubt, with a desire to find arguments 
against us. But still this excitement amongst them can only be viewed 
with interest, and we cannot but hope that it will have a beneficial result 
in some way or other. 

A Hindoo friend at Dehli, through whom many Mohammedans have 
received tracts and books, writes on the subject : " I beg to inform you 
that I have received the books you forwarded to me. They have all been 
given away to learned Mussulmans, who required them very earnestly. At 
their own request, I made over to them all copies of the Mfadn~ul-Haqq 
I had ; I have even been obliged to give them my own copy. But they 
require still more copies, and, consequently, I beg that you will send 
me another supply at an early opportunity." 

In another letter he remarks: "In my opinion it would be very 
desirable to publish a great number of small pamphlets, containing that 
part of the Jltzdn-ul-Haqg which shows that Mohammed performed no 
miracle, and that also the Coran is no miracle. This will bring numerous 
Moslem readers to one point, a point which is quite sufficient to show that 
they have no firm ground to stand upon in defending their creed. It is 
this point in which the Mohammedan religion is most palpably vulnerable. 
The ignorance of this very subject, in my opinion, makes the majority of 
the Mussulmans think that Mohammed was as good a prophet as Moses 
and Christ." 

In a subsequent letter he writes : " A learned Mohammedan of Kurnaul 
has written a large work, of about 960 pages, the chief object of which 
appears an attempt to show that the same objections which Christians 
make to the Coran, can be reverted to the Bible. He has studied, I 
believe, with great care, all procurable translations of the Bible in Arabic, 
Persian and Urdoo, and all controversial works, and he is very probably 


sincere in his inquiries. As to his book, part of which I have read, I 
think he will find that he is highly mistaken." 

"The other day I saw two Mohammedans disputing among them- 
selves about the objections contained in the Mzdn - ul - ffaqq, regarding 
the miracles of Mohammed. One of them was endeavouring to solve 
the difficulties; but the other was altogether dissatisfied with his 

The same intelligent Hindoo, with another Hindoo coadjutor 
(both of them, by the way, specimens of the good effects 
that may be produced by the system of education pursued in 
our Government Colleges), has himself entered the lists with 
the Mohammedans. The following account of a controversy 
held by them with the Cazee of Dehli, is extracted from the 
same report : 

A Controversy between a Hindoo and the Cazee of Dehli. This is a 
very interesting argument : it is the one referred to at page 12 of last 
year's report, and was made over to the Committee by the Hindoo, who is 
desirous that it should be printed. It is entirely aggressive on the part of 
the Hindoo, who carries the battle into Mohammedan territory ; the chief 
ground occupied, being the insufficiency of the evidences or the miracles 
alleged to have been wrought by Mohammed. The argument opens with 
a short paper by the Hindoo, who states his doubts, especially as regards 
the " splitting of the moon," and asks for evidence. The Gazee answers in 
a paper of considerable length, endeavouring to bolster up the tottering 
edifice of traditions, and explain away the damaging admissions which 
pervade the Goran. The Hindoo rejoins in a long paper, in which he 
completely demolishes the Cazee's argument, proceeds to impugn the 
morality of the Goran, and closes with a decided expression of preference 
for Christianity and its evidences. The Gazee made no reply. 

The Committee are preparing a short paper by way of conclusion, and 
opportunity will be taken to add something on the insufficiency of the 
historical evidence in support of the Mohammedan traditions. The Com- 
mittee trust that this publication will be received with acceptance by the 
Hindoo community, and with interest by all. 

The above work is now in the press : and a most important 
document was placed in the hands of the Committee in time 
to be added as an appendix. It consists of twenty -three 
questions sent by a Mohammedan of Kerach to his brother 
Moslems, with the view of eliciting any possible proofs of the 
truth of Islam. The paper opens thus : "I was born a 
Mohammedan and, at my twenty-fourth year, am still of the 


same religion : but I now perceive by the exercise of my intellect, 
that the Mohammedan religion is false, and the Christian true : 
because there is no proof whatever of the inspiration of 
Mohammed." He proceeds to state that he considers Islam to 
be wanting in miracles and in other evidence ; that there can 
be but one true religion in the world given by God, and that 
if he neglects that, he incurs the perils of the lost. " Therefore 
I am urged by the fear of future punishment to ask the sages of 
Islam, if their religion be really true, to prove it to me. And it 
is their bounden duty either to prove or to forsake it. With this 
view I have prepared a few questions for my own peace of mind, 
and entreat a fair and reasonable answer, such as shall aid me in 
reaohing the truth. May the Almighty direct me to Himself, 
and let Him not be displeased with me ! " We believe this to 
be the genuine effusion of an anxious, burdened spirit, and 
heartily join in its concluding prayer. The twenty - three 
questions embrace the grand points of controversy discussed in 
the Mizdn-ul-Haqq : and are short, but conclusive. 

Such appearances are encouraging. We receive them as 
types of the intellectual inquiry and spiritual thought now at 
work both among Hindoos and Mohammedans. A few singular 
cases have risen to the surface and attracted our attention. How 
many similar instances may be occurring, deep and unknown, 
among the masses of the people, we have no means of knowing. 
It is undoubted, however, that more correct and extensive 
knowledge of Christianity is gradually permeating all classes 
of our fellow-subjects, and that a slow, but sure, advance towards 
enlightenment is in progress. It is true that) in the view of 
human agency, there are more hopeful tokens among the Hindoos 
than amongst the Mohammedans ; but that should not discourage 
us from our controversy with the latter, which indeed must 
exercise a powerful, though indirect, influence upon the Hindoos 
also. This important fact has been established by the contro- 
versy at Dehli. The Hindoo, sickened by idolatry, turns to the 
other two religions which surround him, and inquires into their 
respective claims ; and we must be ready at hand to meet him 
with the proofs of our most Holy faith. It is interesting to 


watch on such an occasion the convincing effects of a comparison 
between the morality of the Gospel and of the Coran, apart from 
all questions of external proof. The Hindoo, who has cast off his 
hereditary idolatry, is hound by no family shackles or national 
prejudices to Islam ; and, if his conscience be really awakened 
the comparison of the two religions, Christianity and Mo- 
hammedanism, cannot fail to be of essential service and, under 
God's blessing, to lead to practical results. 

We must not then grow weary in following this noble voca- 
tion. Britain must not faint until her millions in the East 
abandon both the false Prophet and the Idol shrines, and rally 
around that eternal truth which has been brought to light in 
the Gospel. At every point of contact with Islam, Christianity 
has the temporal ascendancy. The political prestige of Mohammed 
is departed for ever. The relation of France to Africa, and of 
Russia and Austria to the Turkish and Persian dynasties, evinces 
in a striking light the depression of Islam. But it is to be 
feared that the spiritual influences brought into play by these 
European powers are comparatively puny and ineffective. The 
corruptions of the Greek and Roman Churches cannot but injure 
the usefulness of any efforts made by Russia or Austria, if any 
such be in progress ; 1 while the Government of the former, by 

* A late journal illustrates the practical effects of this corruption in a 
very painful manner. After describing the long-standing disputes between 
the Greek and Roman Churches, for the Sacred places in Palestine, the 
rivalries and hatred which not unfrequontly end in " bloody battles even 
within the interior of the Churches," and inspire the Mohammedans with 
contempt and disgust, the writer proceeds : 

"Tho quarrel of these monks and pilgrims has lately reached its 
greatest height. Diplomacy ensued. On the one side the chair of Borne, 
and France, supported the demands of the Latins. On the other side the 
cabinet of St. Petersburg defended the cause of the Greeks. . . The 
negotiations lasted a long time. The Ottoman Porte was very embarrassed 
by these opposing claims, and knew not how to reconcile them. At length 
the disputes appear to have been arranged. This was the decision. First, 
the Latins shall have the outer key of the grand church of Bethlehem, and 
the two keys of the side gates, etc. . . . Thus all the noise that has been 
made, these strifes, battles, negotiations, diplomatic despatches, and long 
deliberations of the Ottoman Porte, concernedwhat? The restitution of 


their expulsion from Shushy of Dr. Pf ander and his band, have 
cast aside the missionary teaching so generously afforded them by 
Germany. Little is to be hoped for from the Roman Catholics 
of Prance, and of the proceedings of the Evangelical Churches 
there we have no information. They have a noble field opened 
for their endeavours in Algeria, and ought not to be slow in 
occupying it. 

From this review the mind reverts with pleasure and with 
hope to the efforts now made in British India. Let these be pro- 
secuted with patience, with vigour, and with dependence on the 
Divine blessing, and in due time that blessing will be vouchsafed. 

two or three keys, the fabrication of a silver star, the participation in 
such and such a compartment of an old edifice ; what puerility 1 what 
pity ! "JEhwng. Christendom, April 1852. 

This is the. Christianity displayed before the Turks, these are the efforts 
made by the Greek and Roman Churches, such the contrast between our 
political ascendancy, and the spiritual humiliation to which aberrations 
from our faith have subjected us ! 



From the "Calcutta Review," 1868 

1. Das Leben und die Lehre des Mohammad, nach Usher gr'ossten- 
theils unbenutzen Quellen, bearbeitet von A. Sprenger. Berlin, 

The Life and Doctrine of Mahomet from Sources hitherto for 
the most part unused. By A. Sprenger. 3 Yols. Berlin, 
1865. Essay prefaced to Vol. III. on the Original Traditional 
Sources of Islam. 

THIS is really a great work, the fruit of prodigious learning, and 
of a life the greater part spent in India in the unwearying search 
after materials for the early history of Islam, and in their study. 
Some twenty years ago, Sprenger published at Allahabad a Life 
of Mohammed in English ; but, compared with the present, it was 
bald and meagre, and also incomplete since it stopped short at 
the Flight from Mecca. It was also marked by a love of paradox, 
and tendency to strike out theories based on but slender grounds. 
The present work labours, to some extent, under the same defect. 
For example, from an expression (Eanif) used in the Goran by 
Mahomet to signify that he followed the pure and catholic faith 
of Abraham, Sprenger assumes the existence of an important sect 
of " Eautfites," and of Eanifite works made use of by the Prophet ; 
and having made the assumption, he proceeds to use it as the 
premise for still further conclusions. His estimate of the Pro- 
phet's character is also essentially inadequate; for, a man of a 
weak and cunning mind, as Sprenger describes him, could never 


have accomplished the mighty mission which Mahomet wrought 
But notwithstanding such blemishes, the work displays incredible 
research, and is a perfect treasure-house of materials for the study, 
not only of the lives of Mahomet and his contemporaries, but of 
the religious, social, and literary development of the early Moslem 

It is not our intention, on the present occasion, to review this 
treatise as a whole, but simply the Essay prefixed to the third 
volume, in which the nature and value of the materials for the 
life of Mahomet, and specially of Tradition, are discussed. The 
work abounds throughout with prelections and digressions which, 
though valuable in themselves, often check and disturb the flow 
of the history. But the Preface we are now to consider forms a 
detached and independent piece, filling 180 closely-printed pages. 
And it appears to us to be perhaps the most valuable portion of 
the whole work. 

We make no apology in presenting the subject to our readers. 
It may be dry to most, and (from our imperfect treatment) heavy. 
But the origin and development of the faith of so many millions 
around us, and the traditional basis and evidence of the things 
most surely believed among them, cannot be devoid of interest, 
and, though perhaps difficult to treat attractively, should not on 
that account be cast aside. 

The materials bearing on the rise of Islam are divided by 
Sprenger into five classes : the Goran ; Biographies of the Pro- 
phet; the Sunna or Tradition proper; Commentaries on the 
Goran ; Genealogies. There is a sixth, namely, Original documents 
copied by the Collectors of tradition ; but these are known to us 
only by means of Tradition, and do not properly form a separate 
class. The genuineness of the COBALT, and its bearing on the 
life of Mahomet, have already been discussed at length in this 
Periodical, and need not therefore again be dwelt upon. 1 But 
the other subjects, which are also of the deepest interest, we 
propose to bring under the notice of our Readers. 

The peculiar treatment of Sprenger may be illustrated by one 

1 [The Articles hore referred to, have to a great extent formed the basis 
of the preliminary chapters of my Life of Mahomet. W.M.] 


or two of liis theories. He holds, for example, that '. 
the first fulminated denunciations of temporal judgment impending 
over his unbelieving people; and then, having been, like Jonah, 
disappointed in the fulfilment of the menace, and jeered at by his 
fellow-citizens, he covered his retreat by the threat of judgment 
in the world to come ; and finally, in order to hide the manoeuvre, 
arranged the passages of his revelation so that the latter were 
interpolated among the former, and the colouring of a future life 
thus given to the whole. But there is no ground for this imputa- 
tion. The two classes of denunciations, present and future, were 
1 intermingled in his preaching by Mahomet from the very first ; or, 
if one had the precedence in time, it seems clearly to have been the 
, latter. When the Meccans hardened their hearts and stiffened 
their necks, then the promise of a nearer and a swifter vengeance 
was pronounced. And then, as in the days of Isaiah, these 
mysterious denunciations called forth the scoffs of the people, 
; who challenged their fulfilment like the ancient Jews : " Let 
; Him make speed and hasten His work, that we may see it ; let 
the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that 
we may know it." 

Another characteristic assumption Sprenger bases on the term 
Mathdni, or "reiterated passages," applied by Mahomet himself to 
' certain parts of his book. These our Author distinguishes from 
the rest of the revelation, which was styled the "blessed Coran." 
' His theory is, that Mahomet at first did not pretend to deliver a 
i new Scripture, but only to reproduce by Divine aid, in on Arabic 
form, the revelations of the Jewish and Christian periods. To 
' this rehearsal of existing Scripture, he for a time confined himself ; 
till, after several years, breaking through his scruples, he com- 
menced the delivery of a direct and independent revelation. The 
, idea is ingenious, but that is all. Whatever the term " reiterated " 
)may signify, it is certain that the recitation of patriarchal passages 
' and incidents belongs to a comparatively late stage in the com- 
position of the Goran ; in the earlier portions there is but little 
reference to them. 

The history of Zeid's collection of the scattered Suras 
(named The Coran), and of its official recension under Othm&n, 


is ably traced, and is important to the Christian advocate as 
accounting for the otherwise marvellous purity of the text. But 
this is ground on which it is not necessary for us here to enter. 
We proceed to describe Sprenger's account of the nature and 
growth of the SUNNA, that is, of Tradition proper so far as it 
relates to the practice and precepts of the Prophet; points that 
are imperative, as laying down the law and ritual of Islam. 

By Sunna, says Dr. Sprenger, is meant Usage, or the Law of 
custom. There is, be thinks, among Oriental nations an irrepress- 
ible craving, unknown to us in the West, after " the positive " ; 
they must have, not only their religious duties, but the law civil 
and criminal, and even the commonest details of life eating, 
drinking, dress, etc. prescribed for them by Divine command. 1 
The Goran failed to fully satisfy this need ; and so resort was had 
to the precepts and practice of the Prophet himself ; and hence 
the authority of the Sunna, which professes to hand down the 
tradition of Mahomet's utterances, habits, and actions. 

We must pause for a moment to say, that the rationale here 
propounded is quite insufficient to account for the growth of the 
vast ceremonial of the Sunna. There exists, it is true, an enfeeb- 
ling and deteriorating element in the human mind, always prone 
to rites and ceremonies. But it is as strong in the Western as in 
the Eastern nations; perhaps, indeed, stronger, for the Church 
of Borne has gone far greater lengths in this direction than the 
Eastern Churches. Even with Protestants, who had apparently 
clean escaped from subjection to human ordinances, " touch not, 
taste not, handle not, which all are to perish with the using," we 
must sorrowfully confess how it needs but little to turn multitudes 
" again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto they desire 
again to be in bondage," a mock and ossified counterfeit of the 
living Faith ! 

Indeed, it was not the bent of the Asiatic mind, but the spirit 

1 " Die Orientalen, besondors die Perser, fulilen em viel grosseres Bedurf- 
niss nach etwas Poaitivcm als wir, trad sie wfinsohen nicht nur liber eigent- 
lich. religiose Dingo, sondern auch liber Civil- nnd Criminal-gesetze and 
Qewohnheiten des Lebens, z. B. wie man esaen und trinken, wio man sioh 
kleiden soil, von, Gott ausgehende Weisung" (vol. Hi. p. Ixzvii.). 


and system of the Arabian Prophet, which, developed the Sunna ; 
just as it was the ceremonial element in the Mosaic law which, 
exaggerated and distorted by the legal letter-loving spirit of the 
Jews, led to the endless washing of cups and pots, the tithing of 
mint and cummin, and all the mazes of rabbinical tradition. 
Unlike the Christian Scripture which, prescribing principles, 
leaves their application to the circumstance of the day and the 
conscience of the individual, the Coran contains minute instruc- 
tions on rites and ceremonies, and on social and domestic obliga- 
tions. It was the ceremonial spirit of Mahomet and his Goran, 
which stamped its formal and ritualistic impress on the Moslem 
world, and thus gave rise to the Sunna. After the Prophet's 
death, new relations and contingencies were continually arising, 
for which the Coran had provided no directions ; conquest and 
growing civilisation added daily to the necessity for fresh rules, 
and for new adaptations of the old. To supply this need, resort 
was had to the actual or supposed sayings and practice of the 
Prophet; these were eagerly sought after from the lips of the 
Companions of the Prophet, or of any who at second hand could 
trace a tradition to one of those Companions ; and thus by the aid 
of analogy and of fictitious traditions, was provided an exhaustive 
treasury of precedents for every possible case. 

It is true that Mahomet never claimed for his own opinions 
or actions infallibility. But if he erred on any material point, a 
dream, an intimation from Gabriel, or a verse revealed for the 
purpose, was supposed to correct the aberration; so that, as 
Sprenger shows, the aberration was in point of fact only temporary. 
He might have added that the image of the Prophet, after he had 
passed away, was soon encircled with a divine effulgence which he 
never anticipated; and that his commonest sayings and minutest 
actions became eventually invested with a celestial sanctity which 
he would probably have been the last himself to countenance. 

Sprenger thinks that the Moslems of the earliest era were 
freer and bolder than those of later times in expressing their 
views, and in interpreting the sayings of Mahomet according to 
the spirit rather than the letter. This may be doubted. The 
thraldom of Islam was as powerful, the sword of its inquisition 


as sharp and prompt, in the days of Omar, the Companion of 
Mahomet, as in those of the intolerant Omar u. The truth 
seems to be that every day narrowed the field of subjects open to 
discussion, and on which new traditions needed to be advanced. 
Judgments professing to proceed from Mahomet, or to be founded 
on principles enunciated by him, were gradually framed and 
promulgated for every kind of case transpiring in the daily 
concerns of life. The system became fixed and stereotyped. 
And, moreover, the Companions of Mahomet, who alone could 
authoritatively declare his practice and judgment, one by one 
dropped off from the scene : and with them ceased the creative 
freedom and freshness of the earliest era. 

A few examples will illustrate the origin and growth of tradi- 
tion. Mughtra laid claim to a certain property on the strength of 
an utterance attributed to Mahomet, The Caliph, Abu Bekr, 
refused to admit the claim until the statement was corroborated 
by witness ; Ibn Maslama testified that he had heard the Prophet 
affirm the claim, whereupon the Caliph gave judgment in Mug- 
htra's favour. Again, during Mahomet's lifetime, Sobaya lost her 
first husband, and, shortly after, began to deck herself out in a 
manner which plainly implied that she already entertained 
thoughts of attracting a second. A discreet and pious Moslem, 
scandalised at her conduct, told her that she should tarry four 
months before thinking of another marriage; but she, regard- 
ing this unreasonable, repaired to Mahomet, who confirmed the 
precept. When, after the Prophet's death, people began to gather 
up his sayings, a certain collector of tradition wrote to a friend to 
visit Sobaya, and record from her own lips an exact account of 
her interview and of the Prophet's precept; and hence the Sanaa 
regarding it. On one occasion, Mu&via, while engaged in the Syrian 
campaign, referred a doubtful point connected with the rules of 
warfare to Aly, as the person most conversant with the views of 
Mahomet. So likewise, the son of Abb&s, a renowned traditionist, 
was consulted on the question whether women and slaves accom- 
panying the army were entitled to share in the booty ; his deci- 
sion, based on the analogy of the Prophet's practice, was that as 
women and slaves used to be present for the care of the wounded, 


they had grounds to expect a gift as of favour, but possessed no 
legal title to a "share." Such are specimens of the way in which 
tradition, direct and by analogy, grew up. 

Each tradition is in a separate independent form. It consists 
simply in a statement of the Prophet's dictum or his act ; in a 
question and his reply ; or in the brief narrative of a conversation, 
or action which constitutes a precedent for all time to come. It 
is given, in the direct form of speech, on the authority of the 
Companion who tells the story; and the names in succession of 
every witness in the whole chain through whom it has been 
handed down, and who vouch for its authenticity, are carefully 
prefixed to it. In process of time this string of authorities 
becomes of immense length, until it stops at the period when (as 
we shall see) a written record of the tradition and its authorities 
supersedes the system of oral communication. 

According to Sprenger, tradition was developed into a regular 
science by the civil wars which broke out upon the murder of 
Othm&n. These, at any rate, imparted to it the powerful impulse 
of faction ; and the force of that impulse will be understood if we 
remember that the prize in contest was no less than the Caliphate 
itself. Each party anathematised the other, and based its denun- 
ciations upon the authority of the Prophet. The faction that 
followed Aly held him and his successors in the Im&mship to be 
as infallible as the Prophet. Their opponents, on the other hand, 
acknowledged but two sources of infallible authority the Goran, 
and the precept or practice of Mahomet. To place the certified 
precedents of their Prophet upon an authoritative basis, and to 
preserve them from the possibility of unauthorised additions, the 
Sunnies, or vast body of orthodox Moslems, reduced tradition to 
a fixed form, namely, the JSunna ; by it and by the Goran alone 
they have ever been guided, and hence their name. 

The rapid and exuberant growth of tradition is truly mar- 
vellous. Sprenger thinks that the collection of traditions was 
not taken up as a regular profession till A.H. 40, or some thirty 
years after the Prophet's death. From the Companions who 
died before that time only such traditions were preserved as the 
contingencies and requirements of the day called forth in the way 


of precedent and direction. But afterwards, while everybody 
continued more or less a tradition-monger, it became the special 
business of a numerous class to record from all quarters whatever 
recollections of the Prophet still lingered in the memory of the 
people. Mecca and Medina, of course, were specially ransacked, 
while every spot, however distant, was visited in the hope of 
meeting some one from whom the fragment of a reminiscence 
might be gleaned. We have consequently a much greater body 
of traditions from the Companions who survived to this busy time, 
than from those who died before it. Abu Horeira (d. A.H. 58), 
himself a Companion, collected no fewer than 3000 traditions 
regarding the Prophet, from the lips either of eye-witnesses or of 
those who had received them from eye-witnesses. 

At such a distance of time there could be no great scrupulous- 
ness or exactitude either as to the expressions or the subject- 
matter thus handed down. Penetrated by an irresistible 
fanaticism, the traditionist " placed subjective truth far higher 
than objective." It was the ideal of the Prophet, and the glory 
of Islam, which tradition set forth, rather than any accurate and 
historical statement. At all events, it was only such reports as 
coincided with the spirit of Islam that maintained their currency ; 
and hence we find tradition to be necessarily partial and one-sided. 
The strife of sect and party, it is true, acted to some extent as a 
check upon misstatement, but only in so far as sect and party 
were concerned. In the glorification of the Prophet and exalta- 
tion of Islam all were interested and all agreed. 

One cannot fail to be struck by the uniformity of style and 
construction which pervades the whole mass of tradition. The 
form and type throughout are one. Sprenger thinks this remark- 
able similarity to be the work of the professional traditionists 
who shaped and formularised, according to the recognised model, 
all traditional matter which fell into their hands. Thus, an im- 
perfect fragment would be set in the frame of question and answer ; 
or the prolix story of some aged descendant of a Companion would 
be compressed and as such dressed up in the traditional shape. 
Then, as new points of usage or law from time to time came 
forward for settlement, these, reduced into the proper interroga- 


tory form, would be put to every person likely to Lave traditional 
cognisance of the matter. 

By the end of the first century of the Hegira, our author 
thinks that by far the greater part of the traditions of the Maho- 
metan -world were in the hands of the professional traditionists, 
and had been already f ormularised by them. But each Collector 
as yet possessed only his own separate and limited store. By 
degrees these were brought together in the course of the second 
century, and, as rills converging from all quarters, formed the 
mighty stream of tradition. Men still compassed sea and land in 
search of something new ; and here and there one might have 
the good fortune to light upon a fresh tradition. But as time 
rolled on, such sources all dried up. The competition and jealousy 
of the traditionists subjected new matter to the severest tests; 
and if a recently found tradition broke down under the scrutiny, 
the propagator lost his character for veracity. It was thus that 
Ibn Ish&c and others fell into disrepute among some of their 

Tradition, as above described, is not confined to details belong- 
ing to the lifetime of Mahomet. The childish habit was contracted 
of putting the relation of every trivial fact and story into the 
popular form of a tradition with its string of authorities ; and there 
is consequently a great mass of quasi-traditional matter on the early 
progress of Islam subsequent to the Prophet's death. Excluding 
this, and confining our view solely to what belongs to the lifetime 
of Mahomet, it is remarkable that the original sources, the recog- 
nised " Sheikhs " or Fathers of tradition, are comparatively few, 
great numbers having been rejected by the Collectors as inadmis- 
sible. Thus H&shid (d. 258) relates that he had heard the recitals 
of 1750 Sheikhs, but adopted in his collection the traditions of 
but 310; he had collected separate traditions to the number of one 
million and a half, but accepted only 300,000. W&ckidi, again, 
amassed probably a couple of millions, but the number of Sheikhs 
he relied on was small. Setting aside repetitions of the same 
occurrence, he retained in his collection not more than some 
40,000 traditions, of which perhaps not half are genuine; and 
even of these, many relate to one and the same subject-matter. 


The distinguishing feature of early Mahometan tradition is, 
that it was essentially oral. Even if committed to writing, the 
tradition acquired no new authority from the record : it must still 
be transmitted by word of mouth, the record counting absolutely 
for nothing. The canons of tradition formed a distinct science, 
and had a literature of their own. It was found necessary to 
relax the strict Mahometan law of evidence in its application to 
tradition : thus, a single credible witness (instead of the legal two) 
sufficed, if only the links of oral transmission were otherwise 
complete. An exception was also made in favour of epistolary 
communications, which at a very early period were admitted as 
trustworthy without oral attestation; but under all other cir- 
cumstances, the test by word of mouth was rigidly insisted upon, 
as essential to the validity of each step in the transmission. 
Thus the possessor of the notes or memoranda of a Sheikh could 
make no recognised use of them unless he was able to say that 
they had been orally vouched for by the writer of the manuscript; 
and indeed the entire rehearsal of each tradition by the person trans- 
mitting and the person receiving it, in the hearing of each other, 
was insisted upon as an indispensable condition of trustworthiness. 

Where the traditions of a Companion were handed down in 
various channels, we have special means of testing the accuracy 
of transmission. Thus Abu Horeira had 800 pupils to whom 
he communicated his learning, several of whose names survive 
in the traditional chains; now, since some of these lived at a 
period when it was customary to commit a tradition to writing, 
hence, by comparing the text of the same tradition as given by 
the different authorities, we have a strong guarantee that the 
words of Abu Horeira himself have been correctly preserved. But 
the same cannot be said of most of the Companions of the Prophet 
who were the youngest and survived the longest. There was 
among them great latitude for fabrication. A collector of tradi- 
tion often stood in a specially intimate relation to some one of 
the Companions (as Orwa to Ayesha, Ikrima to the son of Abbfis, 
Abu Ishac to Barft), and became thus the chief and often sole 
medium for transmitting the traditions of the Companion to whom 
he was thus attached. Such monopoly was no doubt often greatly 


abused ; and from the nature of the case there was no means of 
checking it. The seclusion of the Harem also exaggerated the 
evil; and Sprenger is of opinion that Orwa, for example, has 
recited many a tradition on the authority of Ayesha which she 
never dreamt of. The traditions, emanating from such suspicious 
sources, were sometimes found to run counter to the received 
and orthodox views; hence arose the canon that no Akdd (ewro 
Xeyo/Ao/a one might call them) or traditions vouched only by a 
single authority, were to be received. But history lost more than 
it gained by such arbitrary exclusion ; for whenever a tradition 
of this nature was (like the Mirdj, or Heavenly journey) in con- 
formity with the spirit of the age, other authorities were easily 
invented for its support ; while important facts, if thought dis- 
creditable to the Prophet's memory (as his relapse into idolatry) 
or opposed to received dogma, were dropped out of sight and lost. 
Happily, the Biographers did not hold themselves bound by 
the strict canons of the Sunna ; they have preserved traditions 
sometimes resting on a single authority, or otherwise technically 
weak, and therefore rejected by the Collectors of the Sunna \ and 
they have thus rescued for us not a few facts and narratives of 
special interest, bearing internal marks of authenticity. 

Sprenger next discusses the important question of the Time 
at which tradition began to be reduced to writing. And, first, as 
to the material. Egyptian paper, though freely exported to Con- 
stantinople, could have been little known in Arabia, at all events 
ynot in sufficient quantities for ordinary use. We read in the 
fFihrist, that the flax paper of Khorasan was introduced under the 
Omeyyad or the Abbasside Caliphs. " In the first century, the 
Moslems wrote their memoranda upon tablets of wood and slate ; 
for more permanent records, they made use of leather and parch- 
ment." The gazelle skin, tanned in early times with unslaked 
lime, was hard and stiff. Later, at Cuffi a preparation of dates 
was used, and the parchment thus manufactured was white and 
soft By this test the antiquity of the very early MSS. (such as 
the exemplar of the Goran at Horns) can be satisfactorily ascer- 
tained. The writing was often washed off, as in the case of early 


classical manuscripts, to make way for more recent compositions ; 
and many valuable works have thus been lost to us. 

The traditions which ascribe to Mahomet a prejudice against 
writing, appear to have no good foundation. They originated, 
no doubt, in the circumstance that he himself had little, if any, 
knowledge of the art. It was the pious fashion to follow his 
example and practice, to the minutest particular; hence Ibn 
Masud, Abu Horeira, and others of the more scrupulous believers, 
hesitated to commit the Prophet's sayings to writing, and the 
report of his having forbidden the practice thus gained currency. 
On the other hand, we have evidence which makes it highly 
probable that even during the lifetime of Mahomet there were 
persons whe kept up memoranda of his utterances. At any rate, 
there is frequent notice of the custom shortly after his death. 
Thus we find mention of the son of Abbas (the uncle of Mahomet) 
having left behind him a camel load of manuscripts, from which 
both Ikrixna and Ibn Ocba made copious extracts. Aly copied 
out certain precepts of the Prophet regarding the ransom of 
prisoners, etc. ; and, in order to have them constantly at hand, 
tied the roll round the handle of his sword. Another hero made 
use of his boot as a receptacle for the same purpose. It is related 
of aa early Collector of tradition, that he carried about with him 
a portfolio filled with pages of leather; and the famous Zohri, 
when other material failed, made notes of what was told him upon 
his yellow boots, and copied them out in order afterwards. The 
practice increased so rapidly, that towards the end of the first 
century, Omar n. (with a view analogous to that which induced 
Abu Bekr to direct the collection of the Goran) issued orders for 
a complete compilation of all recorded traditions; but he died 
before the work was accomplished. According to the strict canon 
of the Sunna, the object of written collections was not to super- 
sede, but only to assist, the memoriter preservation of tradition ; 
for oral repetition was still tho inexorable rule. Indeed, the pre- 
judice against recorded collections even yet ran so high, that 
instances are given of Collectors committing their treasures to the 
flames (not without regret when the loss was found irreparable), 
or leaving instructions to their executors to destroy them after 


their death. Still the superior check and authority of a record 
must in practice have gradually superseded reliance on unassisted 
memory. Collections of the earlier traditionists fell somtimes 
into the hands of later authors, and we find Wackidi and others 
making use of these treasures in a manner inconsistent with the 
canons of the Sunna. 

Sprenger states the following as the successive stages of 
record: (1) Notes or memoranda; (2) School or college collections; 
(3) Eegular books. Our previous remarks refer exclusively to the 
first, that is, notes professing to be used simply for the refresh- 
ment of the memory. Towards the end of the first century, the 
second class, or School collections, began to be in vogue. Orwa 
and Zohri, for example, used such records in their prelections. 
The pupils were at liberty either to trust solely to their memory, 
or to make copies of their Master's collection ; but so rigidly was 
the oral canon still followed, that the copies thus taken had no 
authority until they were first rehearsed by the scholar in the 
hearing of his Master; and the date of each rehearsal (arz) was 
usually noted upon his manuscript by the copyist. 1 

The third class of documents, answering to our puUislied 
Books, was of much later rise. A Mahometan authority tells us 
that Ibn Jureij and Ibn Abi Kabia, who both died about the 
middle of the second century, were the first who wrote books. 
Mussulman writers themselves understand this passage as mean- 
ing that these persons were the first to make use of manuscript 
tradition in any shape. But this appears a mistake : the simple 
purport being that these were the first to put forth " Books," or 
collections of tradition, which carried their aim autlwrity mth them, 
the condition of oral repetition being no longer required. It had 
become a question of accuracy of manuscript and edition; no 
longer pure accuracy of recollection. 

The use of books gradually displaced the old and cumbrous 

1 The collections were generally in "parts" (juz) of 40 pages, each of 
which could be read at one sitting ; the date of the rehearsal being entered 
in the margin. The earliest instance we have seen of such rehearsal, is the 
old MS. of the Secretary of W4okidi (noticed elsewhere), wMoh gives the 
date of reading of the original copy, in the year A.H. 146. 


system. But the prejudice against them lasted so long that, even 
before the end of the second century, we meet with aspersions 
cast on authors who made use of manuscripts wanting the stamp 
of oral tradition. With just severity Sprenger comments on the 
childish pedantry which for two whole centuries clung by the 
absurd paradox that memory was a more trustworthy authority 
than the pen. Yet this much excuse may be urged, that without 
an oral attestation at each step in the tradition, there would 
have been absolutely no guarantee whatever against forgery and 

Even when books came into vogue, the collection of a Master 
was freely subject to alteration at the hands of his pupil, who, 
performing as it were the functions of an editor, selected or 
omitted passages at pleasure, and even added (but always with 
his name) now matter of his own, and sometimes collections of 
fresh traditions from other sources. The work, notwithstanding 
these alteration^ was still known under the Master's name. It is 
thus that we find different versions of such compilations, as that 
of JJokhilri, to vary both in the number of the traditions and in 
the subject-matter. It is also sometimes not easy to trace the 
original work from which quotations are made, Tabari, for 
example, who composed his annals almost entirely of extracts 
copied vnrlativi from previous collections, makes little mention of 
the Author from whom he borrows: it is the name of some 
obscure Sheikh under whom he read the work which, under the 
pedantic rules of tradition, figures as his authority; the name of 
the real author (Ibii Ishfic, for instance) occurring in the middle 
of the long string of vouchers, as a mere link in the transmission. 
When ho had read a collection under more than one Sheikh, he 
makes a parade of his learning by quoting now under the name 
of one, and now of another. And to carry the system to the 
extreme of absurdity, where he had read only part of a work with 
a Master, he quotes the part he had not so read under the fiction 
of a tetter from his Sheikh; letters being admissible as evidence, 
but not a manuscript or book ! 

Towards the end of the second century, a crowd of systematic 
Collector** of tradition sprang up with the view of fixing the Sunnte 


doctrine. Such collections not unfrequently contain statements at 
variance with one another. Inference from analogy (Qy&s) here 
came into play ; among differing traditions, that one was adopted 
which symbolised most closely with the axioms of the Collector's 
theological school. Thus each school had its special collections 
(musn&d), composed of a selection of those traditions which best 
supported its tenets. One of the earliest is that of Muatta, who 
died A.H. 179. Besides traditions, these works contain the 
opinions of the author expressed in the form of brief decisions 
which, though primarily directed to legal or theological questions, 
have sometimes also a material bearing on the province of history. 1 
While Theologians thus selected traditions with a special view, 
thousands of Traditionists were busy in making collections with 
little or no specific purpose other than that of mere collection. 
Their object was simply to mass together as many traditions as they 
could, and for a long period they were guided by no fixed critical 
rules. Bokhari was the first of the general Collectors to adopt 
rules of (so-called) critical selection : he proposed to himself the 
task of confining his collection to "sound" or authentic traditions. 3 
He was moved, it is said, to this duty by a dream in which he 
seemed to be driving away the flies from Mahomet, interpreted to 
signify that he would dispel the "lies" which clustered around his 
memory. The canons which guided him, however, hardly deserve 
the name of criticism. He looked simply to the completeness of 

1 The received collections of Shaft (d. 204), Abu Hanlfa (d. 150), and Ibn 
Eanbal (d. 284), represent the views of so many different schools. Prior to 
these, although the different sects had their special collections, they were 
confined to notes and meraoriter traditions. In Bokhari, on the other hand, 
and in other general collections like his, we have all such traditions, and 
others of a general character, the whole thrown together indiscriminately, 
without reference to the tenets of any theological school. By a comparison 
of the several collections we can trace the variety of theological views 
and the history of dogma ; and this inquiry Sprenger thinks necessary to a 
correct conception of the intellectual efforts of each age. 

2 When we speak of "criticism," it must not be supposed that there ever 
was any such in the strict sense of the term. That was stifled by the blind 
and intolerant teaching of Islam. Any attempt at the free exercise of 
reason and common sense would have been cut short as impious apostasy 
by the sword. 


the traditional chain, and the character of the witnesses com- 
posing it; and as one of his rules was to refuse every tradition 
at variance with his own ideas of orthodoxy, it by no means 
follows that any statement rejected by him is really untrustworthy. 
His collections, however, differ from the " Musnids " in not having 
respect to any school of theology, but solely to the character and 
supposed soundness of the traditions. It also takes a wider range 
and embraces statements on the exegesis of the Coran, the ancient 
prophets, the campaigns, etc. It contains 7275 separate tradi- 
tions ; or, excluding repetitions, somewhere about 4000. 

The great rival of Bokhiiri is his pupil Muslim, whose object 
it was to complete and improve his Master's collection by adding 
fresh traditions and new chains of authorities. His work thus 
contains some 12,000 traditions, but if we exclude repetitions, 
the contents hardly exceed those of Bokhari; the arrangement, 
however, is better, and hence the collection more valuable. Bok- 
hari is the standard authority in Asia and Egypt; Muslim in 
Northern Africa, and formerly also in Spain. Four other col- 
lections, but of less authority, are recognised by the Sunnies, 
making the canonical number altogether six. 1 There are many 
others, but these are alone authoritative, 

To the Shiea collections Sprenger devotes but half a dozen 
lines. He justly describes them as of little worth. The Shiea 
Collectors began the work later than the orthodox party ; they 
also hold Aly and the Imams (successors of Aly) as infallible, 
and their precepts as sacred as those of Mahomet himself; and 
"they have at all times sought to bolster up their doctrine by 
lies and falsehoods." Sprenger himself is a decided Sunnie, and 
his language is strong ; but to one familiar with Shie-ite tradition 
it can hardly be called unjust. 

*The minor collections are those of Abu Dafld (d. 275); Tirmidzy 
(d. 279) ; Nasar (d. 303) ; for the fourth some adopt Ibn Maja (d. 273), 
others Ibn Khozcima (cl 311). Besides " sound" traditions, these contain 
likewise statements based on "tolerable" authority: they also busy them- 
selves more with theology than the two leading collections. Of the various 
non-canonical collections, some profess to be supplementary to Muslim and 
Bokhari, others aspire to give exhaustive collections of their own. 


We come next to the BIOGRAPHERS. In many respects 
Sprenger does them justice; although we shall find, upon the 
whole, that he entertains a strong prejudice against the class. 

We have already seen that, not being bound by the stringent 
rules of the Sunna, the Biographers have preserved to us interest- 
ing narratives and valuable clues to truth, which the professional 
Collector cast aside because they did not answer to the technical 
requirements of traditionary evidence, or square with his own 
theological notions. Another distinguishing feature of their 
writings is, that they often supply us with a connected narrative, 
to produce which the traditions forming it are fused into 
one another, and the authorities for the whole given at the 
beginning of the story. This, however, is not always the case; 
the greater part of Wackidi, for example, is composed of separate 
traditions each with its separate string of authorities, and with 
the same formalities as in the regular collections. 

Some of these consolidated narratives take the form of an 
Episode or Romance; and Sprenger, though perhaps pushing 
his theory too far, has given us an ingenious clue to their origin. 
It is the practice of the Moslem world, during the first ten days 
of Eabi i. (the month in which Mahomet was born) for the faith- 
ful to meet in their family circles, and listen to recitals of his 
birth, miracles, and death. In opulent houses there is often 
retained for the purpose a professional Bard, who repeats ids 
story from memory, or extemporises it in the style of the ancient 
rhapsodists. To aid the reciter, we have a mass of popular works, 
the most noted being that of Bakry (A.H. 763). They are called 
Moultid Sharif (" The Ennobled Nativity ") ; one of these, written 
in the Urdoo language, was reviewed in this periodical. 1 They are 
filled with childish tales, and resemble fiction so much more than 
history, that, as remarked even by a Mahometan writer, they 
abound with names of persons, places, kings, and kingdoms, which 
never existed. We do not know when such annual recitations 
commenced; but we are assured by Kazruni that the festival of 
the birth of Mahomet has, been celebrated from the earliest times. 
Now, if we compare, for instance, the narrative of the Prophet's 
1 No. XXXIV. (First Series), pp. 404 et g. 


childhood, especially the " charming idyl" of the nurse HalSma as 
given hy Ibn IsMc, with the most ancient models of the 
MoulM Sharif, we find the same spirit and style pervading 
both, the later being merely a development of the older. And 
this again points back to the still earlier rhapsodies made use of 
by the Biographers. " I doubt not," says Sprenger, " that Ibn 
Ishftc's narrative has been derived from the earliest (Moslem) 
Gospels of the Infancy" 

Such works unveil the early tendency of the Moslems to 
glorify their Prophet, compiled as they are on Shafy's maxim 
" In the exaltation of Mahomet to exaggerate is lawful" This prin- 
ciple is conspicuous in the culminating legend of the " Heavenly 
journey," the grand proof to the credulous believer of the Pro- 
phet's mission. It originated at the same period as the other 
legends, 1 possibly a little later j and it can be traced up, in almost 
identical expressions through distinct traditionary channels, to 
three of the pupils of Anas the servant of Mahomet; we have it, 
therefore, in almost the very words in which a contemporary of 
the Prophet used to recite the story. 

To while away the time by repeating tales has always been a 
favourite recreation in the East ; and to this practice Sprenger 
attributes the episodic form of many passages in the life of Ma- 
homet. The habit survives in the professional story-tellers who 
in our own day recite romances like that of Antar ; and they do so 
with a histrionic power for which, compared with that of European 
actors, Sprenger avows his preference. These romances are com- 
mitted to memory, and, as occasion requires, repeated in a shorter 
or longer form \ but, however varied and in different shape, when 
the expressions are compared with the original model, there is 
found a substantial agreement to prevail. 

1 Sprenger holds that we can often fix the period of the origin of a tradi- 
tion by the class of persons it was intended to edify ; thus, predictions and 
prophecies were invented for the Christian ; stories of genii, idols, and 
soothsayers, for the Arab heathen ; announcements regarding Ohosroes and 
the Bast, for the Persians, the advancing limits of the kingdom of Islam 
requiring suitable evidence for each people. The argument is not worth 
much. The real evidence of Islam was the sword. Legend grew up around 
the Prophet naturally, as the halo round the pictures of our Christian saints. 


And so we may suppose it to have been with the leading 
passages in the life of the Prophet. His infancy, the Heavenly 
journey, the deputations from Arab tribes, the fields of Bedr, 
Ohod and Kheibar, his deathbed; each formed, apparently, a 
separate episode, amplified by the rhapsodists who had learned 
the outline. In the course of repetition such episodes gradually 
acquired a shape that symbolised with the spiritual requirements 
of the day, and, like the tale of Antar, became stereotyped ; and 
thus, assuming the form of a tradition, were handed down with 
the usual string of authorities. These episodes, Sprenger thinks, 
were for the most part not wilful falsehoods, but the invention 
of a "playful fantasy," which filled up with bright and suitable 
colouring the ideal outlines of the Prophet's life. Cast in a 
poetical mould, animated by the dramatic effect of dialogue and 
sometimes of verses put into the speakers' lips, they contain, he 
thinks, as little basis of fact as the mere romances of the pseudo- 
Wackidi. Indeed, the narratives relating the miracles of Ma- 
homet, which are 'told with all the gravity of an eyewitness, 
Sprenger designates "as little less than wilful lies." 

Of such essentially worthless and spurious material Sprenger 
asserts that the biographies are almost entirely composed : 
" This narrative " (the tradition of the Heavenly journey) " gives us a fair 
idea of the trustworthiness of the dogmatic biography. I need only add 
that these legends have supplanted nearly all authentic reports of the life 
and struggle of Mahomet prior to the Flight. The only real historical 
material consists of personal narratives regarding his followers" (vol. iii. 
p. Iviii.). 

"After these remarks, if we read the hook of Ibn Ishlc, which my saga- 
cious predecessors with some pomp cite under the title of ' the most ancient 
source, 1 as if this could satisfy criticism, we find that, with the sole excep- 
tion of the 'Campaigns,' it contains nothing but the legends and historical 
romances of the first century. Such traditions suited so well the author's 
taste that, even when he was possessed of better information, he preferred 
them. His love for invention and his disregard of the truth ruled so 
strongly, that he embodies in his work verses which one of his friends put 
into the mouth of an actor in the scene." 

In a note, we are told that our author cites the example of Ibn Ishac, as 
being the earliest of the Biographers, and that even Ibn Sad (the Secretary 
of Wackidi) indulges in similar legends, each with its proper string of 
authorities (vol. iii. p. Ixi). 


Again : " Legends, elaborately composed episodes, and marvels, form the 
sole matter which, during the first four or five decades after Mahomet's death 
(t.0. to A.H. 50 or 60), were fonnularised out of the history of the Prophet. 
And, once more, speaking of Campaigns: 'these form the kernel of the 
chronological history of Mahomet, and constitute almost the only historical 
material furnished us by the systematic biographers, such as Ibn Ishaxj ' " 
(p. hdv.). 

Now these views appear erroneous and misleading in several 
respects. They altogether ignore the merit and value of the 
Biographers, which in other places are fully admitted by Sprenger 
himself. It is not the case that their works are entirely composed 
of legend and romance, to the exclusion, or nearly so, of fact. 
The marriage of Mahomet, the birth of his daughters, the per- 
secution and consequent flight to Abyssinia, the Prophet's "lapse," 
the long-continued ban and its cancelment, the death of Khadija 
and Abu Tdleb, the marriage with Sauda and betrothal to Ayesha, 
the visit to Tayif, the meeting with the citizens of Medina and 
the contract made with them; surely these and many other 
incidents, all prior to the Flight, are based on fact and not on 
fiction. The truth appears to be that the Biographers made use 
of whatever material they found to their hand, and, free from the 
shackles of the Sunna, they adopted the current legends and mar- 
vellous episodes with the rest; but, far from confining themselves to 
these, they constrained into their service every kind of tradition 
pertinent to their subject : and it is thus that W&ckidi and his 
Secretary are specially commended elsewhere by Sprenger, for 
their diligence in the collection of traditions, and care in verifying 
them by the requisite authorities. Like the whole race of early 
Mahometan writers, the Biographers endeavoured (and that not 
seldom by questionable means) to glorify Mahomet and magnify 
Islam ; but there is no reason to doubt that otherwise they sought 
honestly to give a true picture of the Prophet ; that while they 
admit some legendary tales excluded from the Sunna, their works 
are to a very great extent composed of precisely the same material ; 
and that they are, moreover, less under the influence of theo- 
logical bias than were the collectors of the Sunna. 

Further, in respect of the episodes themselves, these are not 
always absolute fictions, as represented by Sprenger. The repeti- 


tion by rhapsodists of " mere fantasies," is a theory which will 
not account for the uniformity, "both as to subject and expression, 
which we find in the different versions of the same episode. The 
story, he says, was repeated over and over, till at last it assumed 
a form suitable to the spiritual requirements of the age, and so 
became fixed in the same as its permanent form. But the efforts 
of mere fancy would not of themselves crystallise into any such 
uniform shape ; rather, repetition in different lands, and by vari- 
ous rhapsodists, would produce an infinity of form and colour. 
To account for the sameness of the episodes, therefore, we must 
assume something common in their origin. 

The common material was no doubt that which it professed 
to be, namely, the statement of some one of the Companions. 
Indeed, as respects the Heavenly journey, the most extravagant of 
all the episodes, Sprenger has satisfied himself (as we have seen) 
that it can be traced back to the very narrative of Mahomet's own 
servant; and he deduces the conclusion, that early origin affords 
no criterion of a story being founded on fact. 1 On the contrary, 
we hold that early origin does afford a strong presumption that 
there was at bottom an element of fact, a kernel of reality 
small it might be, but still real which devotion has seized on as 
a centre around which to cast its halo of the marvellous and super- 
natural. That there is such a nucleus even for the Heavenly 
journey, i.e. for Mahomet's having told a story of the kind, is 
proved by the mention of it in the XVII. Sura, and by the 
scandal occasioned thereby at the first, even among his own fol- 
lowers. And so with the tales of the miracles of Mahomet, 
puerile fabrications as they evidently are, we can generally trace 
in tradition some real incident on which they were engrafted, 
which prompted the idea, and gave, to fancy a starting-point 
for its fairy creations and illusive colouring. 

The early date at which episodes took fixed shape must afford 
a certain measure of security that the tales they tell are not 
altogether legendary. They proceeded from witnesses more or 
less acquainted with the real facts, and were promulgated in a 
manner which challenged contradiction from other competent 
i VoL ffl. p. lix. 


witnesses. It is true that the whole Moslem world was impelled 
by the same tendency to magnify Mahomet without regard to 
reason or consistency. None would have dared to question a 
miracle for its inherent improbability, or on a critical conclusion as 
to the insufficiency of the evidence ; the attempt at so dangerous 
a precedent would have placed the critic in jeopardy of his life. 
So far, then, as relates to the exaltation of the Prophet, there 
would have been none to question. But almost every tradition 
is connected also at some point with an individual, a family, or a 
tribe, whose memory was affected for good or evil by the story. 
And here the factions and jealousies which pervaded the very 
earliest Mahometan society would come into play as an important 
check upon any deviation from the truth. We may be very 
certain that no tradition affecting Abu Sofi&n or Abb&s, Othm&n or 
Aly, would escape the narrowest criticism by some opposing party, 
in so far as its interests were concerned. And since every com- 
munication with Mahomet handed down by tradition casts a halo 
around the Companion so honoured, we have in this fact alone a 
very important restraint upon the licence of legend and episode, 
a restraint effective in proportion to the earliness of the period at 
which the tradition first took fixed shape. Hence in point of 
fact it is generally possible, with more or less of certainty, to 
separate the grain of fact from the husk of overlying fiction in 
which it has been handed down; and through the divine efful- 
gence encircling the Prophet, to distinguish, dimly it may be but 
yet with some assurance, the outlines of the man. 

Prom this digression we return to trace the development 
of Biographical research. The study of the Sunna, embracing 
as it did the habits and usage of the Prophet, had already 
broken ground in this direction, when in the second half of the 
first century we find persons devoting themselves entirely to the 
events and chronology of his life. Orwa, born within fourteen 
years of Mahomet's death, a near relative of Ayesha and a copious 
narrator of her traditions, was the first who systematically 
attempted the task. We have remains of his letters on the 
subject ; but it seems doubtful whether he wrote any regular 


treatise. We next meet with his pupil Zohri, and some others 
who died early in the second centitey, engaged in the same work. 
Zohri attempted the task of writing a history of Mahomet's cam- 
paigns, which formed a separate subject of study, and which, as 
we have seen, Sprenger holds to be the only reliable portion of the 
biographies. From the public character of the Prophet's warlike 
undertakings, it is natural to expect that they could be ascertained 
with more exactness and detail than matters affecting his ordinary 
life. Yet even in the campaigns, there is abundance of romance : 
and many episodes regarding the battle of Bedr, for instance, or 
the exploits of Aly at Kheibar, bear to the full the marvel-loving 
stamp of the rhapsodist. 

The first regular biography of Mahomet of which we have any 
notice is that by Ibn Ocba (d. 141), but it is not extant. The 
earliest which remains to us is by Ibn Ishac (d. 151), and this we 
have only in the corrected and amplified version of Ibn Hisham 
(d. 213). In a former article an account has been given of these 
early Biographers ; l it is, therefore, unnecessary here to do more 
than extract the opinions of Sprenger on the value to be attached 
to the works of Wickidi and his secretary, Ibn S'ad : 

Wackidi, who was born at Medina, died in Baghdad, A.H. 207 (A.B, 803), 
aged 78. He spent in the purchase of books 2000 dinars, and he had two 
slaves constantly employed in copying manuscripts. He left behind him 
600 chests full of books, each requiring two men to lift it. With such 
rapidity had traditional literature increased. ... He possessed dozens of 
versions of one and the same tradition, and these he arranged in chapters 
under appropriate headings. To turn this mass of tradition to advantage, 
Wackidi set about the sifting of the mass. The plan of his work consists of 
biographical notices arranged in chronological order, and embraced all tradi- 
tionists of note up to his own time. The latest he mentions is Mu&via, whom 
he met on a pilgrimage. It is related of each traditionist with what persons 
he had come in contact, and from whom he received and propagated tradi- 
tions, and the measure of reliance to be placed on him. 

Wackidi chiefly occupied himself with the biography of Mahomet, and he 
applied a new style of criticism to the work. He wrote various monographs 
on special subjects connected with the Prophet's life : one on his Divine 
mission, a second on his wives (extracted by the Secretary), a third on the 
chronology, and a fourth on the campaigns, which last is still extant. 

1 No. XXXVII. (First Series) of this JRewew* 


The criticism of Wftckidi does not consist in the collation of existing 
works, or in the endeavour to amplify and correct these by the help of new 
material. Neither ho nor any other writer of the time was addicted to the 
use of reason and argument. The sole ambition of each was to collect the 
largest number of traditions, to transmit them with exactness, and at the 
most, after presenting a number of conflicting statements, to add, "According 
to my view, this or that is the best grounded." Most give no judgment at all, 
leaving that to the reader. ... He seems to have taken as few traditions as 
possible from the Sunna, and even of these he gives other versions resting on 
independent authorities. His great learning enabled him often to assign ten 
different authorities for a single tradition, with as many varying texts of the 
same ; and to supply many interesting anecdotes which had escaped Ibn 
Ish&c and his other predecessors. If we admit that he was not always fair 
or honest, it must be added that his principles were those of an impartial 
and scientific criticism ; and that his zeal and method succeeded in bequeath- 
ing to us an important means of forming a judgment on the value of the 
original authorities. 

Of his secretary, Ibn S'ad, who died A.H. 230, Sprenger 
writes : 

Ho improved the arrangement of his Master's biographical works ; and, 
after abbreviating them and supplying deficiencies, published the whole, 
under the title of TabactU, in 12 (or 15) large volumes. His biography of 
Mahomet, which occupies the greatest part of the first volume, 1 is the most 
solid work we possess on the subject. The " Campaigns" form a separate 
chapter, devoted exclusively to the wars of the Prophet. He departs here 
from his usual practice of citing with each tradition the string of authorities 
on which it rests ; he contents himself with stating in the introduction that 
his authorities for the whole chapter are Ibn IshHc, Ibn Ooba, and Abu 
Mashar, and then he pursues his narrative without again quoting their 
names. Thus he practises in this part of his biography, historical composi- 
tion in our sense of the term. The multitudinous different reports had 
been already duly weighed, contradictions reconciled, the dates fixed by 
computation, and the whole narrative put on an independent footing. 
Following W&ckidi almost exclusively, he appears to use the other three 
authorities only by way of check. His Master's text he condenses in a 
masterly manner, and introduces here and there valuable geographical notes. 
At the close of the sections which narrate the most important expeditions, 
he cites such traditions as had escaped Wackidi and his other predecessors ; 

1 A valuable manuscript of this volume is extant in India. It is 
described in Art. XXXVII. of this JReview, before quoted. 

[The volume, as elsewhere noticed, is now in the India Office, and copy 
in the library of the Edinburgh University.] 


some of these contain new matter, others are merely variations, or old tradi- 
tions supported by better authorities than those already known. 

The chapter of most value for us is that on the " Deputations." The 
chief authority here relied on by Ibn S'ad is Ibn Kalby, the Commentator 
(d. 146) ; but Wackidi is so constantly referred to, that we may presume he 
wrote a monograph on that subject also. This chapter, and indeed the 
Secretary's whole work, excepting the "Campaigns," resembles closely in its 
composition the Sunna ; the authorities for each tradition are recited with 
the same punctiliousness of detail, his own opinion being rarely given, and 
then only in an extremely short form. The greatest portion of the materials 
is taken from Wackidi : bub many very valuable traditions of his own 
collecting are added by the Secretary. 

According to the canons of traditional criticism, W4ckidi is reckoned 
untrustworthy, partly because he was not orthodox (he inclined to theShiea 
doctrine), partly because he was uncritical in the choice of his authorities, 
and not himself invariably true. His Secretary, Ibn S'ad, on the contrary, 
is held so trustworthy that many adopt the traditions of W&ckidi only 
when attested by his pupil, quoting in this way : " the following is from 
W&ckidi, supported, however, by Ibn S'ad." He seems thus to have sifted 
the materials collected by his Master, and in the process, no doubt, cast 
much aside. 

The merit of W&ckidi and his Secretary does not in the least consist in 
their rejection of legendary matter, or in their narrative having less the 
colour of the age than that of Ibn Ishac. If they put aside certain 
improbable traditions, because founded on no better authority than Ibn 
Ish&c, they have, on the other hand, embodied many legends which escaped 
that author, and given new authorities more ancient than Ibn Ishac himself, 
for many of his stories. Their real worth consists chiefly in the additional 
matter which they supply. By giving (which the Sunna-collectors also do) 
the more ancient and rudimentary versions of the legends, they aid us in 
searching out their origin, and thus enable us to demolish the dogmatic 
biography (III., p. IxxvL). 

We are now in a position to receive, but with some reserve, 
the conclusion of Sprenger. "According to my judgment," he 
says, "the Sunna contains more truth flian falsehood, the Bio- 
graphies more falsehood than truth. Further, the numberless 
versions in the former, of one and the same tradition, serve as a 
means of criticism. Hence I hold the Sunna, after the Goran 
and original documents of which copies have been preserved, to 
be the most trustworthy of our sources " (III., p. civ.). But the 
main difference, as we have seen, is, not that the Collectors of the 


Sunna brought into play more reasonable and efficient canons of 
criticism than the Biographers, but that they made use of their 
technical and unreasonable canons in a more servile manner. The 
less stringent rule of the Biographers, while admitting, no doubt, 
many fictions and legends, has presented us with much which was 
excluded from the Sunna, and which, if not absolutely true, 
affords nevertheless very significant indications in the direction of 
truth. As to the existence of the legendary and marvellous 
element in all tradition that concerns the Prophet, there is really 
little choice between the Sunna and the biographical works. Our 
conclusion then is, that Sprenger in the judgment quoted above 
has unduly lauded the Collectors of the Sunna, and depreciated 
the value of the Biographers. 

The works of W&skidi's Secretary, Ibn S'ad, are the latest 
which contain any fresh historical matter worthy to be so called. 
The names of several other Biographers of the same age have been 
handed down, but they are never quoted by later writers, and 
their labours are hopelessly lost to us. Tabari (d. 310) may, 
indeed, be held in some small degree an exception, since he has 
preserved here and there materials (such as the letters of Orwa) 
not to be found elsewhere. After him there is absolutely 
no work which contains any independent historical substance. 
The so-called historians of later times, so far as they deal in 
history at all, blindly follow Ibn Ish&c, supplementing his state- 
ments occasionally by a reference to W&ckidi. To call any of 
these, original sources, is a mere abuse of the term. 

We next come to the COMMENTARIES on the Goran. Besides 
the desire, natural in a pious Moslem, to expound his Sacred 
book, explain its difficulties, and illustrate its excellencies, there 
were two causes which led to the growth of Commentaries; 
the Goran contradicts the previous Scripture, and sometimes con- 
tradicts, itself. When such inconsistencies are irreconcilable, 
then the latest passage is held to cancel the earlier. Thus in 
the Coraa itself a divine command is not unfrequently repealed 
by the substitution of another. And, on the same principle, the 
whole body of previous Revelation is superseded by the Goran, 


at least in so far as the Moslem world is concerned ; for there 
are not wanting intimations in the Goran that, at least in the 
earlier stages of his teaching, Mahomet enjoined the continued 
observance of the Tourat and the Gospel by both Jews and 

But besides simple contradictions, there are various incon- 
sistencies in the Goran which the believer understands as only 
apparent, the deeper and real sense being in harmony. Indeed, 
an under-current of spiritual truth, in proportion as hid from 
ordinary perception, is held to be one of the chief glories of the 
Eevelation. " In such cases," says Sprenger, " the student 
marvelled neither at the acuteness, nor yet at the audacity, of his 
Master; he marvelled rather at the wisdom of God which could 
draw forth such mysterious interpretations. Theology, in fact, 
had now made such happy progress, that men looked on common 
sense as a mere human attribute, the reverse being that which 
they expected from the Deity 1 " 

The Arabs were themselves unread, excepting in the rude 
literature of the desert. But the victories of Islam soon brought 
within its pale a multitude of Jewish and Christian tribes more 
or less versed in Scripture and traditional lore. Of this, the 
Christian portion was propped almost untouched. Between 
Christianity and Islam there was little in common. The Coran 
itself contains no doctrine peculiar to Christianity, if perhaps 
we except the Resurrection from the dead, and the Life to come ; 
and even these are travestied and cast into the mould of 
rabbinical legend. Mahomet's notion of the Messiah was largely 
conceived under the influence of Jewish prejudice ; and the very 
rare and obscure references to such subjects as the descending 
"Table" or Supper of the Lord, and the Seven sleepers of 
Antioch, are after the same legendary type. Thus the points 
of contact are apparent rather than real. The convert from 
Christianity must needs cast away his old associations and all 
that was peculiar to the Christian religion; his traditions and 
his literature disappeared with his conversion. It was not till, 
in the obscurity of the Middle Ages, Christianity became dialectic' 
that it showed any affinity to Arab literature; and then only 


with that school among the Mahometans, which had engrafted 
its teaching upon the Greek philosophy. 1 

Par otherwise was it with the Jewish faith. By reason of 
his hostile relations with the Jews at Medina, it is true that 
Mahomet hated and denounced the whole race with a bitterness 
which he never displayed towards the Christian. But his book 
and his system were not the less cast in a thoroughly Jewish 
type. The histories and legends, the precepts and ceremonial, 
of the Goran are largely adopted from the Old Testament 
and Rabbinical tradition. Islam, thus sympathising closely with 
Judaism, was capable of copious illustration from it. Indeed, 
a large portion of the Goran cannot be properly understood 
without some knowledge of the biblical and rabbinical sources 
which inspired the Prophet. The Jewish converts, then, were 
not severed, like the Christian, from all sympathy with their 
old traditions. ' And these, easily accessible to the Mahometan 
commentators and genealogists, were eagerly devoured and 
reproduced by them, often in a distorted form so as to suit their 
own ends and the national taste. Hence the flood of Jewish 
tale and legend which forms a distinguishing mark of the 
literature of Islam. 

This important consideration is well known to the Mahometans 
themselves. Ibn Khaldun thus writes : 

The Arabs were a people without literature or science, rude and unlearned. 
When that longing after knowledge which is natural to humanity arose in 
their hearts, they betook themselves to the People of the previous Book, 
and sought information from them. These wore the adherents of the 
Tourat (Old Testament) consisting of the Jews and such Christians as 
adopted their faith. But the adherents of the Tourat who lived amongst 
the Arabs were as rude as the Arabs themselves! and possessed on such 
subjects no other knowledge than that gained from tribes who professed to 
follow the Scriptures. Amongst the most important of these were the 
Himyarite (Christian) converts to Judaism. Although these, on coming 
over to Islam, adhered rigidly to Mahometan doctrine, yet, in all things not 
dependent on Moslem dogma, they held also to theip old teaching, especially 

1 The connection between Arab philosophy and Christian literature is 
interestingly discussed in the essay on "Arab Poripatetiuism," in Three 
Essays on Philosophical Subjects, by T. Shedden, M. A. London, 1866, 


to the stories concerning the origin of the world, and the former prophets, 
and the prophecies of future events and wars. Sprenger, iii. p. cix. 

The chief patron of Jewish commentators was Ibn Abb&s, 
son of the Prophet's uncle. Born while Mahomet and his 
kinsmen were shut up under the ban of the Coreish in the 
H&shimite quarter of Mecca, he was yet a boy when the Prophet 
died. Powerful in make, he was clear in intellect, energetic, 
arrogant, but crafty and variable. Like his father Abbas, he 
followed wind and tide ; and, at first attached to the side of Aly, 
went over, on Aly's death, to the Omeyyad dynasty. In politics 
a cypher, he ruled with despotic power in matters spiritual. 

Ibn Abbas revised his own edition of the Coran with the aid 
of Zeid (editor of the recognised version), and collated it with 
the recensions of Ibn Masud and others. He numbered its verses, 
its words, and even its letters. Profoundly versed not only in 
tradition, but in the poetry and dialects of Arabia, he found 
little trouble in mastering his difficulties by construing this word 
in its Himyarite, and that in its Ethiopic sense. Jewish legend 
ho borrowed from Kab the Eabbin, a Himyarite of Jewish 
parentage, who was converted to Islam on the reconquest of 
Yemen under Abu Bekr, and afterwards settled at Medina. 
From him, and from another converted Jew named Wahb, 
also from Yemen, Jewish legend was thus copiously drawn, 
and became embodied in the stream of Mahometan tradition. 

Ibn Abbfts himself was called the "Arab Rabbi." It is related 
that Muj&hid went three times over the Goran with him, dwelling 
upon each word. He appears to have held certain esoteric views 
which he communicated only to his most intimate friends, saying, 
Were I to teach aZZ, the people would stone me. His high 
social rank was not in those days inconsistent with his assumption 
of the office of teacher. He held public lectures on the Coran 
and, according to the custom of the time, was stormed by his 
auditors with questions and difficulties, enigmas to them, but 
trifles to him. As we have seen, he left a mass of manuscript 
notes. Thus Ibn Abb&s acquired a prodigious influence in the 
development of theology: he is the father of exegesis, and his 
lectures form the mould in which all the Commentaries of the 


first four centuries were cast The notes of his scholars grew 
into bundles, and these into books. Successive editors added 
fresh traditions professing to be derived through independent 
channels from Ibn Abb&s, interpolating at the same time other 
matter of their own. The six editions of his Commentary now 
extant, are thus full of variations, and even of contradictory inter- 
pretations ; but they all undoubtedly contain (as Sprenger thinks) 
much matter that really proceeded from Ibn Abbas himself 

There are no other early Commentaries extant : but we know, 
by the quotations taken from them, that there formerly existed 
many such. Sprenger gives a list of thirty in the first two 
centuries. The most ancient grew out of the School collections ; 
and while he thinks it possible that these may have preserved a 
greater number of early traditions than the Sunna, it is at the 
same time admitted that they were less critical and trustworthy. 
Tabari (d. 310) carefully sifted the labours of his predecessors, 
and preserved what he deemed to be serviceable. A large 
fragment $f his work is in the Library of the Asiatic Society 
in Calcutta. 

All the Commentaries are based on traditions exactly similar 
to those already described, setting forth the exposition of difficult 
passages as given by the early leaders of Islam. They contain 
also detailed narratives of those incidents in the Prophet's life 
which, as is supposed, gave occasion to special revelations, or are 
otherwise alluded to in the Goran ; and in this lies their service 
to the Biographer of to-day. The later Commentaries contain 
nothing historical that is not borrowed from these earlier works. 
Special schools took up different branches of the subject. The 
Grammarians busied themselves with the text of the Goran long 
before Tabari; some wrote treatises on the rare expressions; others 
on the difficult phrases. Some illustrated the style; some the 
sense of the darker, and others the rhetoric of the more remark- 
able passages; and these grew up side by side with flbte historical 
exegesis. The labours of both classes have been made use of by 
Thalabi (d. 427), the best Commentator now available, and by 
Baghawi (d. 516), whose work has been lately lithographed at 
Bombay. By their time the exegesis had become dialectic, and 

OB MOSLEM 'tf&ADrriON 133 

that style has prevailed ever since. One of the most valuable 
collections is the Commentary compiled by Soyuty as late as the 
tenth century. 

The following is Sprenger's estimate of the value of the 
Commentaries, as bearing on the biography of Mahomet : 

We are concerned here, not with the degree in which these writers 
illustrated the Goran, but with the accounts they contain of Mahomet's life. 
The traditions of this nature which they have preserved are so numerous 
and so detailed, that (excepting only the two points of chronology and the 
campaigns) it were an easier task to compile a life of Mahomet without the 
"Biographies," than without the "Commentaries." Their statements, further, 
are somewhat more trustworthy, for they were committed to writing at a 
much earlier period ; and if their prejudices were deeper and more numerous, 
still they were of a different sort. They were also obliged to make mention 
of many incidents because of allusions to them in the Goran, which the 
Biographers pass over in silence. The Commentators, taken in conjunction 
with the Biographers, even where both are untrue, often enable us to pierce 
deeper into the real facts, or at least to detect untnithfulness. Moreover, 
although the Commentaries may have been always taken advantage of by 
the Biographers, it is not a sufficient reason for us to pass by the former, 
simply that the latter may have taken from them as much as served their 
own purpose (iii. p. cxx.). 

The judgment of Sprenger is here, as elsewhere, tinged with 
prejudice against the Biographers. The Commentators in fact, 
as guides, are singularly unsafe. To illustrate allusions in the 
Goran they are ever ready with a story in point: but un- 
fortunately there are almost always several different tales, all 
equally apposite to the same matter. The textual allusion, 
in fact, was often the father of the story. What was originally 
perhaps a mere conjecture of supposed events giving rise to an 
expression in the Goran, or a simple surmise in explanation of 
some passage, by degrees assumed the garb of fact. Thus the 
imaginary tradition and the facts which it professes to attest, often 
rest without doubt on no better authority than that of the verse 
or passage itself. Moreover, whatever really valuable traditional 
matter is to be found in the Commentaries, was made use of by 
the Biographers. We can hardly point to a single event in the 
life of the Prophet, which rests upon the independent evidence 
of the Commentators. 


We come lastly to the GENEALOGIES; and this portion of 
the Essay appears to us by far the most curious and important 
contribution made to the early history of Arabia for many years. 
Dr. Sprenger has brought a close and philosophical analysis 
to bear on the copious materials amassed by him with great 
labour and erudition. The subject is somewhat recondite, and 
from its technical character not very easy to illustrate. But it 
has points of great interest, and we shall be pardoned if in 
seeking to place before the reader the results of Sprenger's 
researches, we are led into some detail. 

At the outset, one is startled by finding an absolutely complete 
and accurate list of the warriors who followed Mahomet to the 
field of Bedr. We can tell off "the three hundred of Bedr" 
as exactly as, from its muster-roll, we could tell off three 
companies of H.M.'s army now proceeding to Abyssinia. 
Whence this absolute certainty in the midst of the otherwise dim 
and varying statements of tradition 1 The answer is plain. The 
heroes of Bedr were the nobility of Islam. They had cast in 
their lot with the Prophet when his fate was trembling in the 
balance, and this their first victory was the corner-stone of his 
claim to the temporal as well as the spiritual sceptre. Moreover, 
in the first days of the faith, the distinction was accompanied, 
as we shall see, with certain very substantial temporal benefits. 

Another claim to > the homage of the Moslem world was 
relationship to the Prophet. We need but look around us at the 
respect still paid to the Syud, infinitesimal as may be his share in 
Mahomet's blood, to understand the strength of the feeling 
cherished towards the near relatives of the Prophet. Each clan 
counted its dignity in proportion to the closeness of its connection 
with the Prophet's. The Coreish was the first tribe in the 
Peninsula, and its glory culminated in the immediate family 
of Mahomet. 1 Thus, relationship to the Prophet, and service 

1 It is one of the most marked distinctions between Islam and Christianity, 
that this feeling never had place in the latter. Apart from the homage 
paid to the Virgin (which rests on other grounds), relationship to the family 
of Jesus was never courted as conferring Christian nobility. The Christian 
knew Christ "no longer after the flesh." The Mahometans, however much 


rendered to the cause before it became victorious, constituted the 
grand warrant in the early days of Islam to riches and honour. 

The dues rendered by the Mahometan provinces, and the 
spoils of war, which streamed from all quarters to Medina, were 
distributed mainly on these two considerations. Shortly after 
the Prophet's death, when the tithes came in, Abu Bekr, with 
his wonted simplicity, called the faithful together, and divided 
the income equally amongst them all, men, women, and children. 
In the first year it yielded 9, and in the second year 20, dirhems 
to each. Under Omar the revenue increased enormously, and 
he established an Exchequer with a civil list (Dewan). The 
stipends were then arranged according to the above considerations. 
First came the Widows and immediate relations of Mahomet, to 
each of whom was assigned the annual allowance of 12,000 
dirhems ; the veterans of Bedr drew 5000 ; other converts who 
had thrown in their lot with Islam before that battle, 4000 each ; 
their children, 2000 ; and so on, by regular gradation, each was 
classified in proportion to the strength of claim. Indeed, Omar 
seems at one time to have conceived the idea of bestowing 
largesses upon the whole Arab nation, but the intention was 
never carried into effect. The fruits of Mahometan conquest 
outside the Peninsula were at the first enjoyed by Mecca and 
Medina alone; and so continued until the Holy cities were 
gradually superseded by other centres of power and influence* 
Thus the Dew&n, or Civil list, of Omar, an official register 
accessible to the public, afforded the traditionist a sure guide to 
the names, and partially also to the descent, of all who held a 
place in the history of the first days of Islam. 

The record of tribal distinctions was likewise preserved and 
fostered by the peculiar organisation of the army. There was no 
arbitrary constitution of battalions ; each corps was formed of a 
tribe, or of two or more allied tribes. When a province was sub- 
dued, a portion of the victors with their families settled in it ; but 
the greater part returned laden with booty to one of the great 

they may have magnified the supernatural character of their Prophet, still 
continued to know him most emphatically "after the flesh." The dis- 
tinction illustrates the radical difference between the two religions. 


military stations, Cufa, Bussora, IPost&t, etc., where they waited 
for the next campaign. When thus cantoned, distinct quarters 
were assigned to each tribe, or corps of allied tribes ; the military 
rolls were kept accordingly, every tribe going up as a separate 
body for its pay. The officers were paid at from six to nine 
thousand dirhems. Every boy born in these military quarters 
received from his birth 100 dirhems yearly, and two measures of 
wheat a day, the allowance rising with age to 600 dirhems. 
Such was the constitution of that force which like wild-fibre 
overran so many fair and powerful provinces. There were 
individual soldiers who received their pay separately, belonging, 
as it would seem, to none of the Arab tribes ; but these formed 
the exception. Such of the tribes as did not go into the 
field received no pay; but largesses were often made by the 
Caliphs to various tribes throughout the Peninsula. The system 
was long maintained ; and we find it adduced as a reproach to 
the Caliph Walid, near the end of the first century, that he had 
withheld their allowances from some Junds or tribal corps settled 
in the military stations. 

Before the rise of Islam, tribal distinction was the sole nobility 
of Arabia. Each tribe vied with its neighbour; and the rivalry 
was not only for victory in the field, but for the laurel of the poet 
and orator, pre-eminence in hospitality and munificence, for 
whatever, in fact, conferred, in the eyes of an Arab, glory and 
honour. It is true that a new and higher nobility, that of 
relationship to Mahomet and service to Islam, now sprang up, 
before which the pride of clan waned, and finally (excepting in 
the Peninsula itself) wholly disappeared. But for a time the 
military organisation above explained fostered the tribal spirit; 
and thus afforded the antiquarians of the day exact and ample 
materials to describe the races and clans of Arabia, and trace their 
ancient history. 

Genealogies divide themselves into three classes, the pereon, 
the family, and the tribe. The love of genealogies amounts in the 
Mahometan to a passion. There are more genealogical trees 
among them than in the whole world beside. The taste survives 
to the present day ; and even in India we find clans and families 


who trace, or pretend to trace, their descent to the early nobility 
of Islam. Sprenger adduces a curious example in the Moslems 
of Paniput. These are composed of four castes: the descend- 
ants of Abu Ayub (the citizen whose guest the Prophet was on 
his first arrival at Medina); the descendants of Othman ; Affghans ; 
and converted Eajpoots. The first two do not intermarry with 
the two last. They carefully maintain their genealogical trees, in 
which the pedigree is followed up step by step to the founders of 
the family in the very age of Mahomet ; in later days the births 
and deaths are entered, and sometimes the marriages also, with the 
dates. The pedigree of the Othmanite clan is carefully kept in 
the custody of the Nawab, the head of the house, but Sprenger 
does not think it really above a hundred years old. For the last 
seventeen or eighteen generations, that is, up to the time of Ala- 
uddeen Shah, when the family first entered India, the details may 
be founded more or less on fact. Beyond that, the descent runs 
through kings of Herat, Sheraz, Kafaristan, Balkh, etc., and is pure 
fabrication. The same is the experience of Sprenger with all the 
other pedigrees he has met in India. " Life in the East," he says, 
" is all too insecure, and under too arbitrary a government, to look 
for archives extending over several centuries. In the deserts 
of Arabia such documents are altogether unknown ; and it would 
be childish to imagine that the minute ramifications of any tribe 
could be retained in the mere memory for a long series of years." x 
It seems probable that registers of lineage, like the Paniput 
ones, were known at a very early period, and that the practice of 
keeping them soon became common. 2 These would be first com- 
piled by their respective families or partisans, for the more 
distinguished heroes connected with the rise of Islam ; and thus 
it may be concluded that when, say in the second century, the 

1 It is a mistake to suppose that the Arabs keep any long pedigree 
of their blood horses. The certificate they give contains merely the name 
of the clan, it being presumed that the purity of the blood is notorious 
throughout the tribe (vol. iii. p. cxxvii.). 

9 Sprenger ingeniously proves this not only by direct evidence, but by 
such early variations of names as could only have arisen from mistaking the 
form of the letters, and would not therefore have occurred under oral trans- 
mission. Ibid. 


pedigree of such person is traced upwards (as it invariably is) to 
the time of Mahomet, or indeed two or three generations beyond 
it, the details are founded on records of this nature, and are 
generally trustworthy. When genealogical study became the 
fashion, prodigious pains and learning were expended on the 
work. A Peer might as well want his armorial bearings, as a 
professed descendant of one of the early Moslems his pedigree ; 
and rather than have none, it had to be invented. The contem- 
poraries of Mahomet known by name, number no fewer than 
9000. By the end of the first century, the genealogy of each one, 
and also of every distinguished Arab before and after, was traced 
up to his family and tribe, and thus connected with a pedigree 
reaching to Adam ! Such is Arab lineage. 

Next in trustworthiness comes the Family tree, which is gener- 
ally grounded more or less on fact, whereas the descent of tribes 
is based on mere symbol or theory. The family trees of an 
Urban population are, from their settled habits, much longer than 
those of the Nomad tribes. The pedigree elaborated with the 
greatest known care is that of the two Medina clans, the Aus and 
Khazraj, which is carried back with all its links and ramifications 
to a common ancestor thirteen generations distant. The genealogy 
of the Meccan families is traced up to Fihr Coreish, twelve genera- 
tions; but Oossai, the fifth in the line from Mahomet, is the 
earliest of whom it can be said with any confidence, that he is an 
historical personage. 1 

1 Sprenger indeed (though apparently admitting Cossai's historical reality) 
casts suspicion on the pedigree of the Abd Shams branch of the Coreishite 
tree, a branch descended from a common ancestor only three removes from 
Mahomet ; but his doubts seem without any good foundation. The case 
is this : 

According to the received genealogy, H&shini, the great-grandfather of 
Mahomet, had throe brothers : the descendants of Haishim and of one of his 
brothers, wore called the H&shimite clan ; those of the other two brothers 
were called the Abd-shamsite clan. The latter was strongly opposed to 
Mahomet, and from it sprang the Omoyyud dynasty, between which and the 
Prophet's immediate family there was long nursed a mortal rivalry and 
hatred. The Abd-shamsite branch (very naturally) was never admitted 
to equal pensionary privileges with the Hashimite, notwithstanding that 
Othmau (who belonged to it) interceded for thorn. Honcc Sprenger con- 


It will thus be understood that the lower links of the family 
pedigrees are for the most part historical. The more distant are 
legendary, and consist of names assumed from the floating 
elements of popular tradition, or invented sometimes on grounds 
of probability, sometimes without any grounds at all, for the pur- 
pose of fitting in the family pedigree to the great tribal system of 
the Peninsula. 

The family tree of Mahomet, embracing the Coreish and 
allied stocks, was naturally the first elaborated, and hence became 
the standard by which all other pedigrees were framed. The 
succession ascends through eleven generations from the Prophet 
to Fihr Coreish, the progenitor of the clan or family ; and through 
eight generations more to Nizar, the common ancestor of the tribe 

eludes that they did not really stand in the same close relation to Mahomet 
as represented by tradition, but that this fictitious relationship was con- 
ceded with two objects, first, to add prestige to Mahomet's own branch, the 
Hashimite, by the establishment of a close connection between them and the 
" patrician," or leading clan of Abd Shatns ; and secondly, with the view of 
aggrandising the latter powerful family when its representative Othm&n was 
Caliph, by placing their privileges on a par with the H&shimite. Both 
reasons (besides their inherent improbability) are inadequate to account for 
the unanimity of tradition on the descent of Abd Shams and Bftshim from 
the same father. It is inconceivable that the relationship could have been 
invented in the way supposed, or that Othman could have effected a 
change in the popular tradition so many years after Mahomet's death, 
without eliciting fierce declamation from his bitter antagonists, the adherents 
of Aly. It would certainly in after days have been paraded as a leading 
charge against the Omeyyads by the Hashimites and Abassides, in whose 
cause it would have been a most effective argument. Yet not a whisper is 
on any side raised, casting doubt on the common descent of the four stocks 
from Abdmenaf. There were aged men alive when Mahomet reached power, 
to whom the facts must have been known at a time when all claims to 
relationship with his family would be closely canvassed ; and in a society 
like that of Mecca, where the ties of blood were paramount, it is hardly 
possible to conceive the deception supposed by Sprenger gaining currency. 
The truth is, that the prominence assigned by the Coran (S. VIII., v. 42) 
to the relations of Mahomet, originated at a time when the Abd-shamsite 
branch was waging open war with Mahomet; that family was con- 
sequontly on political grounds placed on a lower scale than the H&slumite ; 
and the difference was perpetuated in the practice of Mahomet himself, and 
in the civil list of Omar. 


or combination of tribes acknowledging that name. The Beni 
Niz&r embraced many subordinate tribes, numbering, as Sprenger 
thinks, in the time of Mahomet, some five or six million souls, 
and connected mostly by no other tie than the common name. 
They spread over the whole of Northern Arabia and Mesopotamia : 
but the Beni Modhar, or branch to which Mahomet belonged, 
had their seat chiefly on the shore of the Bed Sea. Descending 
the line, each progenitor's name represents a gradually diminish- 
ing affiliation of tribes. Thus the Beni Niztir (tribe of Niz&, 
the patriarch of the race) include the distant stocks of Bekr and 
Taghlib. The Beni ModJiar (son of Niz&r) exclude these, while 
embracing the numerous groups sprung from Modhar through 
Cays Aylun, which latter again are excluded from the branch 
next in descent bearing the appellation of Beni KUndif-, and so 
on till the circle is narrowed to the families descended from Fihr, 

Each tribe had thus its central column of descent; and the 
more remote the progenitor, the more numerous the tribes ranging 
under his name. This central column was termed by tiaditionists, 
" The Genealogical Tree," Amfid al nasal} : and with this stem, 
every clan of the race supposed to spring from the common 
patriarch was connected, by assigning its descent from some of 
the successive progenitors ; the common appellation of the group 
of sub-tribes thus affiliated together being generally assumed as 
the name of such progenitor. It became necessary, therefore, to 
provide that the number of links in the tree of a sub-tribe reaching 
up to the progenitorunderwhoiu it branched off from the main tribe, 
should correspond with the number of links in the parent stem. 
For example, as there are eighteen generations between Mahomet 
and Modhar, it follows that in the family tree of the Beni Suleim 
descended from Aylan son of Modhar, there must be seventeen 
links. These removes are termed Gddtid (close relations) in the 
technical language of the genealogists ; and as they were drawn 
out merely to square with a theory, so they were no doubt filled 
up generally in an arbitrary manner. If real names were not 
forthcoming for a gap, names were invented, and so the syn- 
chronism maintained. 


It was a gigantic undertaking this work of the Genealogists. 
They not only traced the pedigree of every individual of note 
among the contemporaries of Mahomet and their followers to its 
family in some one of the Arab tribes, but they affiliated every 
tribe to its proper stem, and gave the name of every progenitor 
through whom step by step each tribe was connected with one or 
other of the great races which peopled the Peninsula. This vast 
genealogical web was woven up to the earliest epoch : but it is 
only the lower threads of it that we can count upon with certainty. 
The warp and woof of the ancient portion is almost entirely pure 
invention. Certain great ancestral names were current in Arabia 
as the patriarchs of the various affiliations of tribes, and consti- 
tuted, we might say, the ethnological symbols of the nation. 
These were laid down as the ruling pattern. Upon it again was 
delineated the position of every tribe, in accordance with the 
popular tradition of descent, the received symbols of ancient 
ethnological division, or the mere fancy of the genealogist. The 
outline was enriched with sketches of battles, inter-tribal rivalries, 
or personal incident, grounded no doubt for the most part on 
legends current among the Arabs ; some of them, perhaps, like the 
episode of Antar, adopted from the recitations of Bedouin rhap- 
sodists, or based on the remains of ancient poets ; but excepting 
for recent periods, all equally fabulous. The details are given 
with the greater freshness and confidence the farther the scene is 
shifted back into the depths of the past ; for there imagination 
had the freest scope. 1 

The Bedouin nation exhibits a phase of society ever restless, 
ever changeful. A tribe would divide itself in search of pasture 
or in consequence of some dispute or other trivial cause, and the 
branches would wander far from each other, separated probably 
ever after, and forgetful of their common origin. The for- 
tune of war sometimes exterminated a whole clan, or forced 
it into combinations which gave a new colour to the genea- 
logical traditions. On the other hand, success in war, or a 

1 An article on the Tribe Poets of the Arabs, by Goldzihet, has just 
appeared in the Asiatic Society's Journal, illustrating the vast number of 
these poetic Deivans, April 1897, p. 825, 


prosperous settlement, would attract fresh adherents; and loosely 
floating clans, thus coalescing with a larger tribe, would merge 
in it their individuality. Hence the surface of society was 
ever shifting, like the changing collocations of a kaleido- 
scope. When we remember that in Arabia there were no 
archives wherein the record of such changes could be preserved, 
it is vain to look for any trustworthy outlines of the more remote 
periods of Arabian history. Some great tribes may, no doubt, 
have maintained their individuality through many ages, as the 
Mozeina and Suleim, for example, have done from the time of 
Mahomet to the present day : but it must also be remembered 
that Islam has introduced an element of fixity into the social 
system unknown before, and we must not estimate the restless 
chaotic state of ante-Mahometan Arabia by its subsequent 

All then that we can look for in the elaborate and voluminous 
work of the Genealogists, is a picture of tribal distinctions as they 
existed in the time of Mahomet, with an approximate sketch of 
the great families to which each was affiliated. We may here 
and there catch a glimpse of the grand outlines of race reaching 
back to some antiquity, but further than this we cannot attach 
weight to the system. It was based on the mere theories of the 
Genealogists who, when fact was wanting, contrived, invented, 
fabricated, without stint or scruple, both the outlines and detail. 
The vast pile of Arab genealogy, beautiful and symmetrical as it 
is, melts away, like a fabric reared of snow, before the merciless 
criticism of Sprenger. 

Scrupulous in harmonising the steps and " distances " in the 
various pedigrees, the Genealogists were incapable of weighing 
wider and more important considerations. The rate of natural 
increase was not observed, or was cast aside as irrelevant. Thus 
(an example cited by Sprenger) two tribes, numbering in the 
time of Mahomet perhaps 50,000 souls, are traced to progenitors 
who were cousins of Cossai,- i.e. 9 only five generations back ! 
The theory is perfect \ but the facts divergent. 

Sprenger was for a time puzzled to find a reason which would 
account for these strange inconsistencies. His first hypothesis 


was, that the genealogical system was elaborated from the local 
tradition current among the tribes settled in and around Cufa, 
and such like military stations ; but the insignificant place assigned 
to the clans occupying the vicinity of those stations, made him 
abandon the idea. He then hit on what appears to be the correct 
theory. The genealogical system and all its details were elaborated 
at Medina from the Dewan, or salary and pension rolls of Omar, 
and from each tradition as was still alive on the spot ; and hence 
the various clans inhabiting the vicinity of that city were brought 
out in strong relief. As the tribes near Mecca and Medina 
supplied their full contingents for the wars, the names of the 
individuals would be entered in detail and each tribe assigned a 
separate heading in the Dew&n. In proportion to their distance 
from Medina, the contingents furnished by the several clans were 
fewer and smaller. Perhaps bodies of not more than a dozen or 
twenty men would be supplied by some of the remote southern 
tribes; several of these small sections would probably encamp 
together, and in the Dew&n would be clubbed under one head. 
Thus, the importance and numbers of a tribe to the eye and pen 
of the Genealogist would be magnified by its closeness to Medina ; 
while distance would cause the outline to shrink, and the detail 
to become obscure. Medina, in short, was the centre of the per- 
spective. Thus the tribes near at hand had a much longer and 
more elaborate pedigree than those far off, because each clan had 
a far greater number of groups to account for, and in tracing these 
up to a common progenitor a corresponding number of steps must 
be allowed ; on the other hand, where the groups were few, the 
rule of "distance" curtailed proportionately the pedigree. In 
accordance with this very scholarly theory, we find the family 
pedigree of Medina itself the longest, and that of Mecca the next 
As these were the centres from whence the Genealogists took their 
survey, they were also the spiritual centres of the Peninsula. 
Tribes were ennobled as they had any connection or interest with 
the Prophet or with his home ; and so, in this view also, the 
genealogical perspective would radiate from those Holy places, 
producing an exaggerated effect on what was near, and diminish- 
ing that which was far off, ' 


The chief use of the .Genealogists' labours to the Biographer 
is that, besides legends of ancient battles and exploits, they have 
treasured up contemporary notices of the various tribes, and 
especially of the events which brought them into contact with 
Mahomet. They carefully note, for example, the names of any 
early converts who visited him ; the part taken by the family or 
tribe in the campaigns of the Prophet ; treaties made, or privi- 
leges conceded, etc. There is, in particular, an entire section of 
Wackidi's work devoted to the Deputations which, chiefly in the 
9th year of the Hegira, visited Medina from all parts of the 
Peninsula to tender their allegiance to Mahomet. Every sur- 
viving scrap of a treaty or letter connected with the Prophet was 
sacredly treasured up by the parties whom it affected ; these were 
all sought out by the Genealogists, and transcribed in connection 
with the tribes to which they relate. In this way the historian 
finds much light thrown on the progress of Islam throughout 
Arabia, and even obtains casual glimpses of Mahomet himself. 

We have said nothing of the steps by which the Arabs 
endeavour to connect themselves with the patriarchs of the 
Old Testament. The grand division of the nation into two races, 
Northern and Southern, and the classification of tribes as pro- 
ceeding from the one or from the other, is no doubt based on solid 
ground. The record of dynasties and leading events in Southern 
Arabia has a special claim on our attention, because we know that 
it was the custom there to inscribe public events on monuments, 
which must have been available to the collectors of tradition, 
although illegible to us now from the loss of the key to the 
Himyarite alphabet But although this consideration may enable 
us to grope some little way farther back in Yemen than in the 
rest of Arabia, it still leaves the elaborate genealogies of patri- 
archal times a mere fiction of the Traditionists. These identify 
Cahtiln, the mythical progenitor of the Southern tribes, at the 
distance of thirty-six generations, with Joktan of the Old Testa- 
ment ! And similarly the Northern tribes rejoice in having traced 
the links which connect their Prophet, and consequently the 
entire Northern race, with Ishmael and Abraham, the founders of 


the holy Kaaba. But Mahomet himself discountenanced such 
fictitious pedigrees. "Beyond Adn^n," he said, "none but the 
Lord knoweth, and the genealogists lie " ; a safe enough judg- 
ment, seeing that Adnfoi (grandfather of the Nizar spoken of 
above) was at the distance of two-and-twenty generations. In 
point of fact, the whole of the patriarchal genealogies are an 
undisguised plagiarism from the Old Testament and the legends 
of rabbinical writers. They are based upon nothing native, not 
even upon Arab legend. All that is not derived from the 
Eabbinsof Yemen and Syria is pure invention. Sprenger has 
clearly proved this ; and the large Jewish element is admitted by 
Mahometan writers themselves. 1 

There is yet one remaining source from which we derive 
information regarding Mahomet and the early Arabs, namely, 
the writings of contemporary POETS. JSTo doubt poems and frag- 
ments of poetry, earlier even than the age of Mahomet, were 
handed down for a time in greater or less purity. Tradition 
makes frequent mention of Poems, satirical, eulogistic, and elegiac, 
having direct reference to the Prophet ; and these are constantly 
quoted both by Biographers and Genealogists. But a class of 
litterateurs sprang up whose art and pride it was to counterfeit 
the compositions of the older poets. By study and practice they 
acquired so close a perception of the style and language of each 
period and of the individual poets who flourished in it, that they 
could assign any line quoted at random to its proper author, and 
could even coin verses cast so delicately in the desired type that 
the most careful scrutiny of the scholar could not always detect 
the forgery. Thus later pieces often circulated in the name of 
early authors, whose poems were interpolated with foreign matter 
blending with the original too closely to be afterwards separated. 2 

1 See Muir's Mahomet, vol. i. pp. Ixx., ovii., and cxciii. 

2 This of course is quite distinct from the more innocent practice of the 
Biographers, who pat speeches and sayings of their heroes sometimes into 
the shape of verse. The use of the direct form of address fostered the con- 
coction of set speeches, like those of the Roman historians. Deception was 
not intended in either case. 2STo one imagines that the speeches pretend to 
be in the exact words, but merely in a supposed likely form. 



For this cause, though these ancient poems undoubtedly contain 
much that is authentic, little reliance can be xeposed on them as 
historical evidence. 

The life of the poet Hammad B&wy, as given by Sprenger, 
shows how fashionable was this practice, and is also a fair illustra- 
tion of the manners of the age. Taken prisoner as a child, he 
regained his freedom and joined himself to a band of robbers. 
Amongst their booty he one day chanced upon a collection of 
poems by a Companion of Mahomet. He was charmed, committed 
them to memory, abandoned robbery, and devoted himself to 

On his being asked by Walid, the Caliph, why he was called 
Mdwy, 1 he replied, " Because I know by heart the works of all 
the poets thou art acquainted with, or hast heard the names of; 
and those thou never heardest of I know better than the poem 
thou art best acquainted with is known by thee! Moreover, 
if a piece of poetry be recited, I will tell thee with certainty 
to what period it belongs." "By thy father, thou art a prodigy 
of learning I How many verses dost thou know by heart? " " A 
vast number! For every letter of the alphabet I could recite 
a hundred long Casidas (idyls) rhyming with it. And besides 
poems since the rise of Islam, I know innumerable ancient 
fragments belonging to the days of heathendom." The Caliph 
commanded him to be presented with 100,000 dirhems. 

" When Hish&m succeeded to the Caliphate," says Hainm&d, 
"I kept to my house in Cftfa, because he had before shown en- 
mity towards me. After a year I began to go out, and one Friday 
repaired to the Mosque for prayer. At the door I was met by 
two policemen with an order that the Governor desired to see me. 
Filled with apprehension, I begged permission to go first to my 
home, and bid my family a last farewell : but even this was not 
allowed me. I went trembling to the Governor, who showed me 
a despatch from the Caliph, desiring that I should be sent forth- 
with to the Court at Damascus. Richly supplied, and mounted 
on a swift dromedary, I reached Damascus in twelve days. Then, 
taken straightway to the palace, I entered a gorgeous hall, the 
1 I.e. Narrator of stories or traditions. 

POETS 147 

floor and walls inlaid with gold and marble. The Caliph, robed 
in purple, reclined on crimson pillows : the air was redolent of 
musk and amber, which lay before him on a golden chafing dish ; 
occasionally he shook the dish, and filled the hall with the sweet 
incense. He accosted me kindly, and desired me to approach. 
I kissed his foot, and in doing so caught a glimpse of two slave 
girls of superlative beauty standing behind, their great ruby ear- 
rings glancing by their cheeks like fire. He asked after my 
welfare ; a verse had occurred to him, and he had sent for me, he 
said, because he could not remember where it was to be found. 
I told him at once, and was able, moreover, to repeat the entire 
poem. He was delighted, and desired me to present my request. 
I asked that I might have one of the slave girls. He gave 
me both, and commanded that I should be placed in a lordly 
chamber, to which I at once repaired, and found attendants and 
everything I could wish in readiness. Likewise, he gave me a 
present of 100,000 dirhems." 

There are circumstances related by Sprengerof this poet which 
show that at times he was little better than a drunken and de- 
bauched sot. On one occasion he was found in a shameful state 
when sent for by the Caliph Mansur. But rapidly recovering 
himself, he recited an elegy with such pathos as to draw tears 
from the Caliph's eyes. 

The Caliph Melidie once held a gathering of learned men 
versed in poetry. To Hammed he presented 20,000 dirhems, 
remarking that he composed good poetry, but that when he recited 
ancient poems he inserted many spurious verses. To another, 
called Mofaddhal, he gave 50,000 dirhems, because he recited 
ancient poetry with critical accuracy. 

This Mofaddhal tolls us that HammM exercised a most per- 
nicious influence in giving currency to erroneous and altered 
versions of the ancients poets, Mere errors learned critics might 
correct ; but this man was so thoroughly versed in the peculiar 
language of Arabic poetry, and knew the style and manner of 
each poet so closely, that he could compose whole poems in the 
spirit and language of some ancient bard, and then give them out 
as authentic. These became mixed up with the genuine remains, 


and as such were handed down ; thus it was only the most prac- 
tised critic who could discriminate between what was genuine and 
what was interpolated (vol. iii. p. clxxiv.). 

It is easy to perceive that, under such circumstances, what- 
ever illustration the habits and adventures of the early Moslem 
heroes may receive from the remains of contemporary Poets, can 
be of no certain service in contested points of history. As a 
matter of fact, one meets in their statements with frequent ana- 
chronisms and allusions to later events, which of themselves 
would suffice to shake our faith in them as a sure ground of 
historical evidence. 1 

The concluding pages of Sprenger's essay are devoted to 
general considerations of much interest. He traces an essential 
element of early Moslem literature to the proud supremacy of 
Islam; and illustrates the position by the analogy of the English 
in India. He says : 

One must live and labour in India to know what grand aspirations this 
feeling of supremacy gives birth to. The heroic defence of Lucknow, and 
the daring siege of Dehli in 1857, prove to what a pitch of greatness such 
influences lead. The pride of belonging to the dominant nation makes every 
man a hero ; and, even in the domain of mind, produces, under such circum- 
stances, the elements of greatness. In the days of Muavia, the finest pro- 
vinces of the world, yielding a revenue of forty millions sterling, were at the 
feet of the conquering race. All non-Moslems were their slaves. And it 
was this that moulded the heroic character of the Mahometan world. 

Supremacy begat assurance. But notwithstanding the nobility of senti- 
ment thus produced, the Moslem world never rose above the rank of the 
barbarian. One must not mistake ability in practical life, and the natural 
products of Fancy in the province of speculation and religion, for the culti- 
vation of Reason. Resembling other people of the age, the Mahometans 
altogether failed in the faculty of Observation, and the inductive exercise of 
the Reason. Like children, Imagination had the sway over them, and the 
more the spiritual life wrought in them, the more phantasy obtained the 
mastery over sound reason: for, the overweening assurance with which 
they aspired to the highest regions of science was based neither on true know- 
ledge nor on the cultivation of the understanding, and attained to no other 
result than the bold imagery of an unbridled imagination, inventions and 
lies. Excepting momentary displays of nobility and self-abnegation, it 
entirely failed in imparting Humanity, and the sense of Truth and Right. 

1 See examples in Mnir's Matowt, vol. i. p. Ixxxiv. 


These views ore of the highest importance, coming as they do 
from so philosophical a thinker as Sprenger ; and they are founded 
on truth. But in estimating the causes of the results above 
described, Sprenger has not sufficiently adverted to the repressive 
influence of Islam itself, which placed shackles on the independ- 
ence of human thought, stifled free inquiry, and imprisoned the 
intellect in the close dark cell of dogma and superstition. 

Of the incredible mass of inventions and fabrications called 
into life by the stir and spiritual activity of the first sixty years of 
the Hegira, Sprenger considers that but a small proportion has 
survived, and this the portion most congenial with the Mahometan 
mind. The principle of natural selection, as it were, preserved 
the materials which suited the requirements, tastes, and prejudices 
of the people, and dropped the rest. Tradition, as we now have 
it, was, in other words, moulded by the people themselves, 

"Thousands and thousands occupied themselves with handing 
"down traditions. In every Mosque they committed them to 
" memory, and rehearsed them in every social gathering. All such 
" knowledge was the common property of the nation ; it was learned 
" by heart, and transmitted orally. It possessed therefore, in the 
" highest possible degree, the elements of life and plasticity. Bun- 
" sen has discovered the divinity of the Bible in its always having 
" been the people's book. If this criterion be decisive, then no 
" religion has better claim to be called the vox Dei, because none 
" is in so full a sense the voxpopuU, The creations of the period 
" we have been considering possess this character for hundreds of 
" millions of our fellow-men ; for modern Islamism is as far removed 
" from the spirit in which the Goran was composed, as Catholicism 
" is from the spirit of the Gospel ; and modern Islamism is grounded 
" upon tradition. But in tradition we find nothing but the Ideal, 
" Invention, Fancy. Historical facts, however they may have been 
" floating full of life among the people in the days of Ibn Abb&s and 
" the other founders of genealogy, were trodden under feet : because 
" men wished to remove every barrier which stood in the way of 
" self-glorification. And, of the thousand inventions which every 
" day gave birth to, only those were recognised as true which most 
"flattered the religious and national pride" (vol. iii. p. clxxvuL). 


There is a depth of truth and reality underlying these senti- 
ments. But it is needful to guard them by two considerations. In 
the first place, however much the nation was inclined to hand down 
only those traditions which symbolised with the tendency to glorify 
Mahomet, and also glorify the reciters themselves, and to throw 
the rest away, still there were, fortunately for history, causes 
at work which to a certain degree counteracted the process. For 
Mahometan society was, from the earliest period, riven into factions 
which opposed each other with a mortal strife, and consequently 
were not indisposed to perpetuate traditions which would aid 
their cause by depreciating their adversaries ; and partizanship has 
fortunately thus secured for us a large amount of historical fact 
which would otherwise have sunk unnoticed. Moreover, in the 
Biographers themselves we are bound to acknowledge the honest 
endeavour to draw with faithfulness the lineaments of the Pro- 
phet's life, though naturally in exaggerated outlines as seen 
through the medium of a supernatural atmosphere. 

As regards tradition being " the voice of the people," Bunsen 
would hardly have recognised the applicability of his dictum 
to a state of society in which the range of thought was sternly 
circumscribed, and its results dwarfed, by the pains and penalties 
of a system far more powerful than the Inquisition, a system 
which proscribed the free exercise of thought and discussion as 
incompatible with the profession of Islam. The result is not the 
vox populi in any intelligible sense. 

The plastic period, however, soon passed away, and left the 
material of tradition in a form which, though it might be worked 
up into any of the Theological systems, could not henceforward in 
its own substance be altered. This is well stated by Sprenger in 
his concluding paragraph : 

"The time of creative activity, the gestation era of Moslem 
" knowledge, passed away. Hajjlj choked the young life in its 
" own blood ; and the Abbfoide dynasty with kingly patriotism 
"sold the dearly-bought conquests of the nation, first to the 
" Persians, and then to Turkish slaves, with the view of procuring 
" an imaginary security for their throne. And thus there arose 


" for the spiritual life also a new period. 1 Already Wackidi had 
" begun to work up into shape the mass of his traditionary stores, 
" and busy himself in the department of scholastic industry. In 
" the Schools one could as little affect now the material of tradition, 
" or alter its nature, as attempt to change the organism of the new- 
" born child. However arbitrary might be the invention of the 
" Miraj (Mahomet's heavenly journey), and other fabrications of 
" the first century, they still formed in this way the positive element 
" and soul of religious, political, and social life. The Schools, as 
" always, confined their exertions to collecting, comparing, abbre- 

1 The political history (Sprenger adds in a note) developed itself in this 
wise : " First came the civil contests, which maintained the warlike spirit 
of the nation in its integrity, and the party leaders were forced to follow the 
people's will. In the end, that party gained the ascendancy which was the 
most unscrupulous, but the one which knew best how to administer the 
finances, namely, the descendants of Abu Sofiftn, the once arch-enemy 
of Islam. At the conclusion of the civil wars, the object of the rulers was 
to break the arrogance of the people. The grand instrument for that was 
Hajjaj. This man, from A.H. 75 to 95, ruled from Babylonia to Scind, and 
in that interval massacred 120,000 persons. Simultaneously, the court 
entered on a course of boundless extravagance frith all it usual consequences. 

" I have elsewhere (Asiatic Society, vol. xxv., p. cxxxiii.) shown that this 
oppression and extravagance precipitated the new direction which the Moslem 
mind was under any circumstances destined to take. Already before the 
end of the first century, the ascetic turn and the theosophy inseparable there- 
from, a combination styled among the Arabs Stifieismi, had arisen. This made 
rapid strides ; and in the end of the third conturywas already itself the sub- 
ject of learned works. As might have* been anticipated, the Moslem world 
has carried this system to the utmost extreme. Their Sdfies outstrip in 
every point of view both the Indian Jogics and our own Monks. The asceti- 
cism of the Sufies is more systematic, their pantheistic teaching deeper and 
more consistent, and their vices more enormous, than those of any other 
people. Spinoza and Schelling are left far behind by Ibn Araby. But we 
must not be deceived by appearances. It requires small advancement to 
found a deep metaphysical system. Captain Latter was once telling me of 
the Burmese literature and theosophy, when I expressed my astonishment 
at the latter. He remarked :- ' The same is found in all rude nations ; for the 
supernaturalist has no need of learning ; dreams suffice for him' " (p. xxix.). 

No one is better qualified than Sprenger himself to trace the history of 
Mahometan philosophy, and especially its Sufieism. It would be a subject 
worthy of his pen. 


" viating, systematising, and commentating. The material was 
" altogether divine ; and any unprejudiced historical inquiry, any 
" simple and natural interpretation of the Goran, any free judgment 
" on tradition or its origin, was condemned as apostasy. The only 
"task that remained was to work up, in scholastic form, the 
" existing material : and in this way was developed a literature 
" of boundless dimensions, which yet at bottom possessed nothing 
" real. The whole spiritual activity of the Mahometans, from the 
" time of the Prophet to the present day, is a dream : but it is a 
" dream in which* a large portion of the human race have lived ; 
"and it has all the interest which things relating to mankind 
"always possess for man" (vol. iii. p. clxxx.). 

It is strange that a subject surrounded, as we might imagine, 
with so many attractions for the Oriental student, as that of the 
early records of Islam, should be almost unknown in India, for 
the English, it may be said that they have in this country small 
leisure from the busy work of life, to turn aside to the task ; and 
for the Hindoo it would prove hardly a congenial subject. But 
to educated and thoughtful Moslems, as involving the first 
beginnings and the development of what they hold to be most 
sacred and precious, one might have expected the study to be 
fraught with the deepest interest. The sword of Omar no longer 
checks freedom of inquiry ; the right of private judgment and of 
discussion is here in India as free as the air we breathe ; and yet 
their mind would seem still dwarfed and scared by the apparition 
of that sword. The honest and enlightened Moslem ought not 
to shrink from a domain of inquiry, opening up a long vista of 
history and literature, which he naturally looks up to with venera- 
tion, and portions of which he may justly regard with pride. 
The Christian missionary, too, might draw many a polished shaft 
from the same armoury. In our seats of learning, a branch of 
study so closely affecting an important section of the human race, 
and India in particular, might find a fitting place. And upon 
the learned men who preside at those Institutions devolves the 
responsibility of rendering that study popular in our Indian empire. 



From the " Calcutta 3evieu> 1850 

1. Origines Liturgicce; or, Antiquities of the English Ritual, and 

a Dissertation on Primitive Liturgies. By the Rev. William 
Palmer, M.A. of Worcester College, Oxford. 2 vols. 
London, 1845. 

2. Origines Ecclesiastics; or, The Antiquities of tJie Christian 

Church. By the Rev. Joseph Bingham, M.A., formerly 
Fellow of University College, Oxford; and afterwards 
Rector, etc. 9 vols. London, 1844. Books XIII., XIV., 
XY., relating to Divine Worship in the ancient Church. 

3. The Syrian ChurcJws: their Early History, Liturgies, and 

Literature, etc. By J. W. Etheridge. London, 1846. 

4. Dude Amim U Kitdb, aur Sdkriminton K Tartib, aur KaUsiya 

H Dusri Easm aur Dastiiron H England aur Ireland ki 
muttahid Kalisiyd ke tarigue Tee mutdbiq. Agdd-4-Din ke 
Sdth. Agra. Yatlmon ke Chhape khdne men chhapl gai. 
1847. [The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration 
of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the 
Church, according to the use of the United Church of 
England and Ireland. With the Articles of Religion. 
Agra. Printed at the Orphan Press, 1847.] 

WHATEVER comes into constant and familiar contact with 
man, and yet commands his respect or veneration, must of neces- 
sity exercise a wide and a deep influence upon him. Nor is this 
effect confined to the leading features of such an agency; it 
attaches also to its minor and even accidental details. Thus, 
legendary stories connected with the people's faith, and ritual 


formula wrought up into religious practice (as in the case of the 
Hindoos and Mohammedans), strike their counterpart upon the 
national mind. Thus, too, a system of jurisprudence will gradu- 
ally impart something of its colour and character to a people 
long under its action. And the minute and unessential points, 
the adventitious custom and ceremony, or the chance cast of 
phraseology, will not he without even their corresponding 
effect. The stamp will impress not only its leading figures, 
but also its finest tracery, and faithfully perpetuate even flaws 
and defects. 

The principle might be followed out into an endless detail of 
illustration. National poetry, such as the myths of Homer and 
Hesiod, no doubt imparted many broad, as well as delicate and 
intangible, traits to the Grecian character. The sculpture, 
painting, and architecture of Greece and Borne, as they grew out 
of, so unquestionably have reacted in a thousand ways upon the 
habits and mind of the people. The labours of Jerome still 
influence the character of Europe. "The rich and picturesque 
Latin of the Vulgate," where " the Orientalism of the Scripture 
is blended with such curious felicity with the idiom of the 
Latin," has had a manifest effect upon the language, and upon 
the thought, of the West. "It has, no doubt, powerfully in- 
fluenced the religious style, not merely of the later Latin writers, 
but of those of the modern languages, of which Latin is the 
parent." l The English Bible has proved an agent no less deep 
and wide ia its results upon the British tongue and mind ; and 
every day tends only to strengthen its hold, and spread more 
widely the ramifications of its influence. The subject is one 
which presses with solemn responsibility on the translators of the 
Scriptures into the languages of India. 

But it is to another department of religious literature that we 
mean at present to apply these considerations. The assimilative 
action upon the mind is probably as great in the daily, or weekly, 
services of the Church, as in any other department; indeed, 
greater perhaps, since the constant use of liturgies must, 
in proportion to its frequency, deepen and perpetuate the 
1 Milman'a Christianity, bk. iv. ch. iii. vol. iii. p. 465. 


lineaments of thought and language proper to themselves. 
We doubt not that the Missal and the Prayer-Book in 
their own field may vie with the Vulgate and the English 
Bible, in the depth and peculiarity of the features they have 

In this view, the version of public service which the Episcopal 
Church shall give to the native Churches of India, assumes a 
deeply serious aspect. The form of liturgy, and the language in 
which it is clothed, will have a large share in influencing the 
character of that part of the community, nay of India itself. 
Constantly recurring, repeated more frequently than the Bible 
itself, every ceremony, every prayer, each individual word, will 
exercise an important effect, always present, steadily extend- 
ing, and ever reproducing itself as a fresh agent of good or 
evil. It is, then, a matter of great interest that each form 
and every word should be weighed with care; that no 
ground be given for false impressions ; and that all the associa- 
tions and ideas resulting even incidentally from the version, 
should be in a right direction. The national mind will 
form itself around the type which we place before it, and take 
impression of the deformities as well as of the beauties of that 

Labouring under this strong conviction of the importance 
of Vernacular liturgies for India, we have taken up the Urdoo 
translation of the Book of Common Prayer, noticed at the head 
of this article. But, before passing its merits under review, we 
purpose to consider generally the adaptation of the Anglican 
liturgy to the Native Churches of India ; that is to say, how far a 
close translation, as the present professes to be, is suited to the 
position and requirements of the Native community. In this 
periodical, the use, or the absence, of a set liturgy is of course 
an open question; and we propose to consider it at present, 
simply as it affects those who have already decided in the 

Now it is perfectly evident that there are certain grand 
features of human nature and of Christian life, which are the 
same under every clime and in every age. Fallen nature requires 


the same confession of guilt from the American, the Russian, and 
the Hindoo, from Augustine and Justin Martyr, as from the 
Christian worshipper of Great Britain. And the same may he 
said of the expression of faith, hope, love, thankfulness, and all 
such topics. In these particulars, there exists no distinction of 
time and place : so long as they are offered by mortal man, the 
subject-matter of address to God must come under the same 
categories. In so far, then, as these are concerned, it would 
appear that no exception may be taken to the transference of 
approved forms of worship from any time and from any nation, 
to any other age or people. 

But, admitting that this argument holds good with reference 
to devotional forms of the nature just specified, still a large 
portion of religious services must (if at all commensurate with 
the necessities of the worshipping body) have reference to 
their special circumstances. And it is evident that, as such 
circumstances are accidental, liable to vary in different times, 
countries, and societies, and not essential elements or adjuncts of 
Christian life and doctrine, so should the forms of public de- 
votion be brought to bear upon them, vary accordingly. Now 
such accidental elements are, surely, often of too great importance, 
and frequently occupy too large a share of Christian life, to be 
passed over sub silentio in the public prayers. One or two 
illustrations of what is meant may assist likewise in bringing out 
the necessities of the Indian Church. 

Our first illustration shall be taken from that department 
which, in general, least affects the character of prayer, viz., the 
phenomena of nature; and among these we select (perhaps in 
this land the most important) the setting in of the rains. Now, 
if this be found deeply to call forth the affections of the people, 
their fear, hope, and gratitude, it is not only the duty of the 
Church to raise these affections heavenwards, but it is her surest 
coursd in order to win her way into the hearts of the nation. 
Throughout a great part of India, life is so directly and mani- 
festly dependent on the periodical rains, that, if the Heavens 
even for a short period delay their vivifying flood, a season of 
intense suspense is excited, and anxious aspiration to the Lord of 


all animates, as with one breath, the whole body of the people. 
The public feeling should surely, at such times, be inwrought 
into the language of public prayer ; and, " Give us this day our 
daily bread " should be amplified, so as to suit and come up with 
the overwhelming exigencies of that critical period. 1 And here, 
too, are valuable opportunities for the expression of Faith in the 
Ruler of the natural world, and of Dependence upon Him in 
whose hand our breath so absolutely is. And when the long- 
expected rain does at length descend, how does the heart leap for 
joy, and what a season for the offerings of Gratitude ! Foreigners 
as we are, does not the overflowing of thankfulness upon such 
occasions add a new flood of life even to our devotions? How 
intensely then might such feelings be called forth in the Hindoo's 
breast, whose sustenance, home, and very existence, depend 
upon the gracious providence ! And does not the bursting 
life, the new creation of salient energy covering the late expanse 
of torrid dust, the smile of grateful nature instantaneously 
clad in a new vesture of verdant freshness, speak in living 
terms the language of religion and devotion, which might well 
find an echo in our prayers? How manifest the hand of the 
Almighty ! How patent His goodness ! How striking the type 

1 In the ancient Liturgy of St. Mark, there are prayers for the waters of 
the river Nile to be raised to their just measure. Palmer, vol. ii. p. 86. 
The rise of the river in Egypt, analogous with the rains of India, thus 
formed the subject of special prayer in that land. So Tertullian : ' * Quoniam 
tamen Dominus, prospector humanarum necessitatum, seorsum posttraditam 
orandi disciplinam (i.e. orationem Dominicam), ' Petite/ inquit, 'etaccipi- 
etis * f et sunt a uae petantur pro circumstantia cujusque, praemis8& legitima 
et ordinari& oratione quasi fundamento ; accidentium jus est desideriorum ; 
jus est superstraendi eztrinsecus petitiones," etc. De Orat. C. IX. And no 
doubt the Church, as well as the private Oratory, should make provision in 
prayer for such necessitous contingencies, as may lie out of the beaten track, 
and yet form subject-matter of devotional aspiration to the people at large. 

[I have been much struck with the ancient Liturgy of the Nile, as given in 
a recent number of the Asiatic Society's Journal. It is used at the period of the 
river's rise ; and the prayers, responses, and appropriate lessons (as Ps. Ixv.) 
show what use can be made of times and seasons, as touching the nation's heart, 
and giving us a lesson for India. The article, by the Rev. G. Margalivich, 
is well worth reading. Art. XV., Journal Asiatic Society, October, 1896,] 


of the Resurrection from the dead ! These ideas are germane to 
the human mind, wherever such phenomena appear : and the 
Prophet of Islam well knew how to turn them to account. 1 
Are we to give no vent to such aspirations and feelings, or at 
best to put them off with Collects for " such moderate rain and 
showers," as may suit the slowly developing energies of an 
English spring, but only mock the rapid and gigantic agencies of 
heaven that usher in the Indian year? Ah, that faith, that 
dependence, that gratitude, those living witnesses of the nature and 
goodness of God, 2 have a latent habitation even in the idolatrous 
Hindoo's heart. They are chords of Nature's own ; and at the 
inspiring seasons of anxious longing for the early and the latter 
rain, or of grateful joy at its reception, if swept by the skilful 
hand of the servant of the God of Nature, even the Heathen's 
heart will respond to the touch. 

Our second illustration shall be from the moral and spiritual 
phenomena which surround our native Churches. Themselves 
patches of verdure but lately reclaimed from the vast wilderness, 
tiny oases encircled by burning and interminable deserts, 
they have a deep and a portentous interest in the neighbouring 
tracts, which are ever threatening to swallow them up and restore 
the wilderness again to its howling uniformity. Shall there, 
then, be no adaptation to this state of things, beyond the literal 
adoption of a liturgy which has grown up in a smiling country, 
with no howling wastes and wilderness to spoil its verdure? 
The Churches of India are planted in the midst of Heathens 
and Mohammedans : they are as drops in an ocean of idolaters 
and professed opponents of the Christ. A very large section, 
therefore, of their hopes and fears, their joys and sorrows, their 

1 Some of the most beautiful illustrations of the Resurrection, for in- 
stance, arc derived by Mohammed from this source: "It is God, who 
sendeth tlio winds, and raiseth the clouds, and We drive the same into a 
lifeless country ; and thereby quicken the earth, after it hath been dead. So 
shall the resurrection from the dead be." Goran, Sura xxxv. 9. Comp. also 
S. vi. 100, xxv. 49, xxx. 24, xliii. 11. 

2 "Nevertheless he left Himself not without witness, in that He did 
good, and gave rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts 
with food and gladness.'' Acts xiv. 17. 


duties and responsibilities, in fine of every department of the 
Christian life, both as individuals and as Churches, must have 
a direct reference to this isolated position, and to the masses 
which close them in on every side. In England there are no 
idolaters or Mohammedans, and but a scantling of professed 
blasphemers; and therefore the liturgy of England has little or 
no reference to such peculiar circumstances. Now the question 
arises, Is such a liturgy as this to be, without any adaptation 
whatever, imposed upon the Indian Churches? Is the only 
reference which their public devotions shall have to this subject 
of highest interest and daily concern, to consist in the passing 
allusion in the opening of the prayer " for all sorts and conditions 
of men," or to the still more passing and general allusion in the 
Litany, and to the Collect used once every year " for all Jews, 
Turks, infidels and heretics?" 1 If so, one of the widest and 
most important requirements of the native Church, affecting her 
internal trials and her external duties ; one in which, perhaps 
more than in any other, does she need to be constant and earnest 
in her common and united supplication, in which, more than in 
any other, should she feel her weakness and seek for strength, is 
altogether excluded from her public devotions ! 

The subject might have been followed out to much greater 
length, but we rest satisfied with these two simple illustrations. 
Omissions of equal importance, certainly many of perhaps less press- 
ing moment, might have been pointed out; while certain portions of 
the service might have been shown to be inapplicable to the present 
state of the native Churches, or their use at least injudicious. 
Some of these may be incidentally brought forward in the course 
of this article. Meanwhile it is necessary to inquire how far 
it is possible and expedient to alter and adapt the Liturgy to the 
use of the Indian Church. While not insensible to the delicacy 
and difficulty of the subject thus set before us, nothing short of 

1 See the Collects for Good Friday, or Parasceve, in the Romish ritual. 
The use of such prayers, on the ecclesiastically appointed anniversary of the 
crucifixion, seems to be connected with the prayer for "mercy, even to the 
perfidious Jews," who crucified our Lord. By association of ideas, Pagans, 
heretics, Turks, and infidels are also commended to mercy. 


the settled conviction of its paramount importance would have 
compelled us to enter upon it. 

To what standard, then, shall we appeal, in order to arrive 
at a fair and just conclusion? The Churches of Europe have 
long existed among a population, in name at least entirely 
Christian ; and the Syrian and other Eastern Churches have been 
for ages too devoid of life to serve for examples to us. But the 
state of the Church in the primitive age closely resembled that of 
our Indian Churches, in being encompassed by heathen opposition. 
This antagonism gradually died away, till, in the fifth and sixth cen- 
turies, Christianity had, at least in outward appearance, assimilated 
the entire mass of the Empire to herself. Now, if we can show 
that, even in the fifth century, an important part of the prayers 
of the Church was still directed to those who were not within 
the pale of the " Faithful," we shall have made out a strong case 
for a similar concession to the Indian Churches, whose present 
position so much more urgently demands it 

We shall produce, then, passages from Augustine to show 
that, in this century, heathens and unbelievers were still prayed 
for by the Church. In opposing the Pelagian heresy, and 
combating the doctrine that salvation is the result of free-will, 
and not the work of God's grace, Augustine brings home to his 
opponent the prayers of the Church in which the grace of God 
was implored on behalf of infidels, inquirers, and heathen 
nations. 1 He appeals to his antagonist, whether he would not 
himself respond Amen to the call of the priest, exhorting the 
people to pray to God, or else himself praying "ut incredulas 
gentes ad fidem suam venire compellat." Now, to warrant repeated 
notices couched in such language, it is manifest that there must 
have been very special and frequent petitions of the kind alluded 

1 Quando audis saoerdotem Dei ad altare exhortantem popuhra Dei orare 
pro iucrodulis, tit eos Deus convertat ad fidem ; et pro oatechumenis, ut 
eis desiderium regeneration^ inspiret. Again, Numquid, ubi audieris 
sacerdotom Dei ad ejua altare populnm hortantem ad Deum orandum, 
vel ipsum clara voce orantem, ut incredulas gentes ad fidem suam venire 
compellat, non respondebis, Amen? Epist. ad VitaZem. 

Augustine was made Bishop of Hippo, A.D. 895, and lived and wrote 
until A.I). 430. 


to, and commonly used ad dltare, i.e. as a part of the liturgical, 
or Communion, service. If such was the case when the Roman 
world was nominally Christianised, we may safely conclude that 
similar petitions occupied even a more prominent position when 
it was professedly heathen. 

That the Ante-communion service of the third, fourth, and 
succeeding centuries contained prayers foi inquirers and others 
without the Church, is clear from every account remaining to 
us, and indeed from the very constitution of the service of that 
period. The prevailing order of service was founded upon the 
classification of the people (which is traced to the third century) 
into the "Faithful," and the "Catechumens." The "Mystical 
liturgy," or Sacramental service, was exclusively reserved for 
the Faithful; that part of the worship (the efy(<u trurrQv) was 
common to the Faithful alone, and might not be heard, much 
less shared in, by any unbaptized adherent of Christianity. The 
Lord's Prayer was confined to this part of the service ; and was 
termed par excellence cuxq Trio-raw, The prayer of the Faithful. 
The use of it was permitted to no unbaptized person. 1 So careful 
and thorough was the exclusion of intruders, that, in the third 

1 There appears, however, to be no ground for holding that the prayer 
itself was concealed from the uninitiated, as Palmer would seem to imagine 
(Orig. Lit. vol. i. p. 14). We can see no ground in his references for 
thinking so. Indeed, how conld the prayer have been suppressed when it 
existed in the Bible, which all were encouraged to read 111 the Vernacular ? 
(Bingham's Antiq., bk. x. ch. i. s. 7) ; and they could not but see its 
prominent insertion on divine authority there. Besides, it was openly 
referred to, and specifically quoted in the sermons and writings of the early 
Christians, e.g., of Tertullian, Cyprian, Chrysostom, Augustine ; and these 
were common to believers and uninitiated. 

Its use was certainly restricted to the " Faithful " ; and it was introduced 
only in tTieir service, every particular of which was surrounded by a curtain 
of mysterious secrecy. But this is quite another matter. The prayer was 
well known ; though its position, and accompaniments in the "tremendous 
mystery," were not divulged. 

The catechumen was not taught this prayer till on the eve of baptism, 
under the impression that it was wrong to encourage him, while yet 
unregenerate, to make use of petitions suitable only for the regenerate 
children of God. 


and fourth centuries, the Sacramental liturgy was as secret from 
the uninitiated vulgar, as the Masonic institute in our own day, 
from those without. 1 

But, though excluded from the prayers of the Faithful, the 
Catechumens and others were not uncared for. A separate 
and previous service was held on their account, termed efyal 
Kary)x<>6p<w(j)v, missa Cdtechumenorumi'hQ service of the un- 
"baptized. This comprised the entire worship as it preceded 
the "Mystical liturgy," or Sacramental service; it was intended 
for the edification of all; and to it heathens, heretics, and 
candidates for baptism, had equal and indiscriminate access. 2 
Its order consisted of the singing or repetition of Psalms, the 
reading of the Scriptures, the sermon, and prayers. There 
are clear notices that, in the fourth century, the latter embraced 
a prayer for the Energumens, "or possessed," a prayer for 
the Catechumens, and one for the Penitents. The penitents 
were parties who had been baptized, but, having relapsed into 
sin, were excluded from the Communion, although sometimes 
the higher ranks were permitted to be present at its celebration. 
With this exception, each class quitted the assembly on the 
conclusion of the prayer appropriated to itself. Chrysostom 
says that the prayers were common betwixt the priest and the 

1 Bnt we have good authority for holding that such secrecy did not 
originate long before the third century. Bingham (x. 5, s. 3), writing on 
the subject, says, " the first beginning of it seems to have been about the 
time of Tertullian, for he is the first writer who makes any mention of it." 
And the quotation from Tertullian refers only to the exclusion of heretics 
'and heathens from the sacred celebration, not to the prohibition of divulging 
what was then practised. 

8 Bingham (bk. xiii. ch. L s. 3) quotes a rule of the Fourth Council of 
Carthage, interdicting the Bishop from prohibiting any one to enter the 
Church and hear the Word of God, whether Gentile, heretic, or Jew, until 
the service of the Catechumens was ended. And it is evident from other 
Canons, and from the sermons of Ohrysostom, that the privilege of general 
access was freely acted upon, and was regarded by the ministers as a valuable 
opportunity for attracting outsiders to the faith. The Council of Laodioea, 
indeed, forbids heretics to enter the house of God ; but the authority is 
singular. It was probably a local rule, or may possibly have applied only 
to the Sacramental service. 


people ; 1 he gives specimens of the petitions for the Catechumens, 
and likewise of the Deacons' prayer, containing supplications 
which they were encouraged to put up for themselves. 

Both the penitents and catechumens embraced large classes 
of men; practically, in fact, all who were not heathen or 
faithful. Of the penitents, for instance, there were two divisions; 
the hearers, who departed with the catechumens, and had prob- 
ably neither the desire nor suitableness of character for further 
fellowship; and the kneelers, who were nearer restoration to 
the privileges of the faithful, and stayed to receive the prayers 
of the Church and the Bishop's benediction. 2 So among the 
" catechumens " there were both the simple inquirers or parties 
interested in Christianity, and also the " competentes," or 
candidates ready for baptism ; and for each, as occasion required, 
separate prayers were put up. 

Now it has been already shown that the heathen were 
specially prayed for ; so that, in the fourth and fifth centuries, the 
prayers of the Church unquestionably had a particular and direct 
reference to all classes of men according to their spiritual require- 
ments. It is not indeed affirmed that the arrangement or classi- 
fication of the prayers then prevalent was perfect, or worthy of 
entire imitation : on the contrary, the operative effect of baptism 
entered banefully into the system. But what we do say is, that 
the Church intended to provide special prayers for each class 
suited to their state, and actually did so in conformity with the 
views then prevalent Such was the case without controversy at 
the period selected for our analogy, when the sceptres of Kings 
and the thrones of Bishops had already intermeddled with the 
purity of Christian discipline : and, the higher up the stream we 
ascend, the greater must have been the distinction between the 
Faithful, the inquirers and the unbelievers ; and the more distinct 
l Kal fr rats efyafe ft vo \d rbv \abv ISoi rts av ffweifffeporra, xal flirty TW 
toepyovfuvuv, inrcp rwv fy jj&ravoia, Kotval ml vapa roO leptus K al irap atirfo 
ytvorrai efyai, Kal waives fudv \iyov<nv c&xqv, ctxyv rip Aeou y/iov<rav. 
Tom. IX. Horn. XVIII. 

9 The penitents are sometimes divided into four classes, -flentes, audientes, 
ffew-fteetentes, and consistentes. This division is evidently borrowed from 
that of the catechumens, into audicntes, gewt-flectentes, and compttentes. 


the provision of the devotional services suitable for each, had 
we the materials for tracing it. 

It is evident, then, that to satisfy those who take the primitive 
Church as their guide or model (and we know of no other period 
in the annals of the Church which can at all furnish an analogy 
suited to our position in India), the Church services should have 
respect, directly and prominently, to each main division of men 
(spiritually considered) within and without her pale. 

Let us now see how far the liturgy of the Church of England 
fulfils these conditions with respect to the Native community. 
The penitential discipline has ceased, and with it the prayers 
appropriated to Penitents \ there is now no service for the Cate- 
chumens, neither is there any part of the Common Prayer which 
has any special reference whatever to Inquirers, or Candidates 
for baptism. And it has been already shown that the petitions 
for the Heathen, or unbelievers, are but perfunctory and allusive. 

The entire English Prayers are emphatically edxal irunw, the 
worship of Believers. The service is throughout strictly adapted 
to the people of God. The whole body of the aspirants, it is 
taken for granted, are regenerate, or at the least seriously pro- 
fessing Christians. In this respect there is betwixt it and the 
Communion service no difference. The latter, from the inspiring 
nature of its symbolical ceremony, is characterised by a more 
intense devotion, and by a depth of feeling suited to the sublimity 
of the occasion. But both are composed alike of such aspirations 
as true Christians alone can offer. Particular petitions may 
have a more general character; but the whole drift of the 
service leaves no doubt of this. The confession betokens sincere 
repentance ; the absolution, though couched in approvedly general 
terms, holds forth the assurance of pardon : the Te Deum is the 
triumphant profession of a Christian's faith and adoration: and 
the Creed 1 is an explicit declaration of belief. Every essential 

1 The repetition of creeds in the liturgy, was not introduced till the sixth 
century (Binghaxn, vol. v. p. 140). They were never repeated in the early 
Church (except immediately before baptism), either in the communion or 
ante-communion services. 

It is to be noted that the forms alluded to above (excepting the absolu* 
tion) are " to be said of the whole congregation." 


grace of the fully-developed Christian character is here presup- 
posed and brought into play. There is, in fact, in the English 
Church, no Ante-communion service in the sense in which that 
term was understood in the early Church ; and were a disciple of 
Chrysostom suddenly to appear in our Assemblies, the most 
decisive test to him, of what we have advanced, would be the 
repeated use of the Lord's Prayer. "How can anyone," he 
would exclaim, "say Our Father, but a regenerate and real 
Christian, an adopted child of God?" * 

The liturgy of our Church is thus a service for an avowedly 
Christian community. It has no reference whatever to such 
bodies as the Hindoo and Moslem communities amongst whom 
in this land we dwell. And yet these we are seeking to win. 
It is the grand object of our Missions to attract the Gentiles to 
the light of the gospel. 2 And still when, as curious visitors or 

1 However unreasonable thus to confine the Lord's Prayer, or to deduce 
such strict application from the term "Our Father," yet no doubt there is a 
depth of serious and instructive meaning in its limitation by the early Church 
to real Christians. The Lord's Prayer is, in truth, the most absolute and 
unlimited expression of Christian faith and resolution. For instance, "Thy 
will be done/' can only in sincerity be said, when it is the intention or 
desire of the speaker's heart to do that will, as well as to see it done by others. 

So also, as has been well remarked by Clirysostom, the petition, "For- 
give us our trespasses, as we forgive," etc., is a solemn denunciation upon 
himself by the suppliant who sends it forth from an unforgiving heart : 
fafiepbv ydp tart T& \cy6jjt,ej>ov ("A0S f)fuv, *.r.X.), Kal ffXfSbv eliretv, rotovro 
irpbs rbv Qeto jSop, 6 roOro Xywv, 'A^ra, A&irora, &(f>es . . . el ticpdrqtra 
Kpdnjffov, el fdj Xwa ru> v\fi<rlov 9 juijft <rf Xftrty? r& I/A& a/Mpr^fiara. tv & 
fterpu tptrpipa, dm/Mrpiy&iru fjioi. Tom. V. Horn, in Pan. Chrysostom 
pressed these opinions so strongly, that some were for omitting the qualify- 
ing clause in their repetition ; but this he did not approve of. 

9 That Hindoos, Mohammedans, and unbaptized inquirers do frequently, 
from curiosity, or more hopeful causes, resort to our churches, is notorious. 
To quote from the first Missionary report we happen to take up, Mr. Menge, 
of Goruokpore, writes as follows: "I have, for the last few months, 
observed with pleasure, that several Zemindars, Brahmins, and others, have 
been attending my Hindustani service in the Station Church on a Sunday ; 
and my Pundit, who, six years ago, would not come near the Mission com- 
pound, has regularly for more than a twelvemonth gone to my Sunday 
afternoon service, and taken off his turban without my saying a word to him 
on the subject. Report of the Chwrch, Missionary Society for 1849, p. 76. 


serious inquirers, they do come to our churches, we make no 
provision for them in the devotional services. There is no single 
reference to them in our public prayers. We neither pray for 
them, nor invite them to join in praying for themselves. Now 
here is a great and a palpable want, a serious blank, without 
controversy, in our liturgy for the wants of India. 

Surely some alterations, some adaptations, additions or modifi- 
cations, are absolutely required. How, then, are these to be 

The spirit of the Church of England is professedly favourable 
to necessary changes. We learn this from the preface to the 
Prayer -Book: "It hath been the wisdom of the Church of 
England, ever since the first compiling of the public liturgy, to 
keep the mean between the two extremes, of too much stiffness 
in refusing, and of too much easiness in admitting, any variation 
from it; and it is but reasonable that, upon weighty and import- 
ant considerations, according to the various exigency of times and 
occasions, such changes and alterations should be made therein as, 
to those that are in place of authority, should from time to time 
seem either necessary or expedient." 

Recognition of the propriety of change upon necessary 
occasions is thus in strict conformity with the principles 
of our Church, and with the practice of the fourth and fifth 
centuries. The several Bishops had then free authority to 
alter their forms of prayer at pleasure ; though a general uni- 
formity of substratum was preserved. 1 The earliest restriction, 
indeed, which we find to have been put upon this authority, is 
found in the Canons of the third Council of Carthage (of 
which Augustine was a member), which simply prescribe that, 
"before any one uses new prayers, they be first examined by the 
more learned brethren." 2 Such being the practice of those earlier 

1 The authorities cm this point are clear, and need only be referred to. 
Bingham, Orig. Ecclea., bk. ii. oh. vi. s. 2, and bk. xiii. eh. v. s. 1 ; Palmer, 
Orig* Ltturg. Introd. vol. i. p. 10. 

2 "Et quicunque sibi preoes aliunde describit, non eis utatur, nisi priiis 
eas cum instructioribus fratribus contulerit." Con. Carffiag. iii. ch. 23; 
Bingham, xiii. 5, s. 7. So in the African code (c. iii.), it is appointed 
"that such prayers as had been approved by the synod (ris 


days, and such the slow advance of uniformity, we may easily 
understand that the still earlier stages of the Church's history 
would even more decidedly favour the facility of effecting 
needed alterations. 

Our " provincial Bishops," then, under sanction of the Metro- 
politan, should, according to the authorities just quoted, make 
such changes in the Indian liturgy as may appear indispen- 
sable. This opens up the interesting subject of the appointment 
of Bishops expressly for Native churches. It is evident that 
the Metropolitan of India, and other Presidency Bishops, are 
never likely to be suited either by habit or education for jauch 
a task. They are little versed in the vernacular languages, and 
have no intimate acquaintance with the prejudices and views 
of their Native flocks. But subordinate Bishops, possessing 
the requisite qualifications, might be selected; and if it were 
thought injudicious or unwise to accord the title of Bishop, 
the new prelates might, after the German style, be termed 
Superintendents. The exigencies of the Native churches, so 
rapidly increasing in India, will soon demand, according to the 
Episcopal system, such superintendence, whether European or 
Native; for, even apart from their want of Native experience, 
our present Bishops have no leisure, from the vast and important 
duties connected with their European labours, to apply them- 
selves, with the necessary concentration of purpose, to this 
subject. 1 

fr TTJ ffwbdta iKefflas), should be used ; and that none, which opposed the 
faith, should be introduced, dXX* afrtpe? Wjirore farb rQv crwerure/wp, 
<rvj>7)x6y<rav, \exOfaornu. Upon, these passages Bingham remarks : "This 
seems to be the first beginning of that custom, which afterwards prevailed 
all over the Church, that all provincial Bishops should use the same form 
of prayer, that was established in the Churches of their Metropolitan" 
(vol. iv. p. 263). 

1 There is, of course, in these remarks not the 'most distant notion of 
depreciating our excellent Metropolitan. It is surely no affront to his truly 
Episcopal virtues and accomplishments, to say that he has by no means 
either the early or acquired associations absolutely necessary for the work 
now proposed. It is next to impossible that he, or indeed that any party 
under the present system appointed to the 'post, should be so qualified. 
And the same remark, with a similar deprecatory caution, applies equally 


There is another method in which the want of adaptation 
we have been considering may in some degree be met, and which 
in actual practice is often resorted to ; that is, the use of unfixed 
or extempore prayer. Very frequently much of the deficiency 
in Native congregations is in point of fact supplied by such 
prayers, before or after the sermon. But though this habit is 
partially supported by the practice of our good Metropolitan 
himself, and by some of his worthiest clergy even in their 
English ministrations, we are not sure whether some Churchmen 
might not yet denounce it as uncanonical and dangerous. 

But surely even these should have little reason to find fault 
with a custom practised by some of their own choicest models in 
the fourth and fifth centuries. Thus Bingham, after showing that 
" extempore discourses were frequent among the ancients," and 
explaining the terms employed by Chrysostom and Augustine, relat- 
ive to the Divine assistance to be looked for upon such occasions, 
adds : "And, upon this account, it was usual for the preacher 
many times to usher in his discourse with a short prayer for 
such Divine assistance, and also to move the people to pray 
for him." 1 Several such unliturgical prayers are quoted by the 
same author, as occurring not only at the beginning, but during 
the course and at the end, of the sermons of Ambrose, Origen, 

to the good Bishop of Madras, and to the learned and Venerable Archdeacon 
of Calcutta. A Native of the country would of course surpass all others 
in a close knowledge of the habits and requirements of the Native churches. 
But where, in a Native, are we as yet to find the rare conjunction of 
qualities which, would warrant us to place in his hands the Episcopal 
crook? where that learning, devotion, humility, judgment? Closely con- 
nected with this subject, and indeed with the whole drift of the article, 
is the degree of independence ultimately contemplated for the Indian 
Episcopal Churches. Are they to be a mere appendage of the Church of 
England ? Is the centralisation of Borne to be copied by Britain, in the 
case of her colonial Churches ? or is there to be any, and what, degree of 
independence ? The agitation of the question may be premature ; but it is 
of the last importance for their ecclesiastical rulers to have sound principles 
in view regarding it. They should not, even at this early stage, com- 
promise such principles by any injudicious intolerance, or by giving 
precedent to the dangerous theory, that wriformity in details is essential. 
1 Bk. xiv. ch. iv. s. 18. 


and Augustine. The latter especially, always closed his sermon 
by a prayer, 1 which he varied "as the matter of his sermon 
required." After quoting a piece from Augustine, 2 Bingham 
observes : 

I have related this passage at length, because it shows us ... what 
sort of prayers those were, which they commonly made before sermon, 
viz. not the common prayers of the Church (as some mistake, who measure 
all usages of the ancient Church by the customs of the present) ; but these 
short prayers for the assistance and conduct of the Spirit, to direct both 
them and the people in speaking and hearing (vol. iv. p. 561). 

Now, could any possible harm or disorder ensue, if such occa- 
sions were improved for supplying the deficiencies in our public 
prayers already pointed out? Why should not the addition 
of unliturgical prayers be openly permitted at the discretion of 
the minister, after the due performance of the fixed service 1 To 
answer this important question, and that upon grounds which 
should carry weight with those who now advocate the exclusive 
use of forms, let us inquire into the early use of liturgies, and 
the original authority for them: the subject is large, yet its 
importance forbids us from passing it by. In one respect the 
subject is at first sight unpromising. Opinion is generally ex- 
treme on either side. Thus one writer holds that the ancient 

1 Commencing, " Conversi ad Dominum." 

3 The passage alluded to is so excellent and relevant, that we intro- 
duce it here entire : " The Christian orator should pray both for himself, 
and others, before he begins to teach ; that he may be able to speak those 
things that are holy, just and good; and that his auditors may hear 
him with understanding, with willingness, and with an obedient heart. To 
this end, before he looses his tongue to speak, he should lift up his thirsting 
soul to God, that he may be able to discharge what he has imbibed, and 
pour forth to others that wherewith he has filled himself : and this the 
rather, both because we and all our words are in the hand of God, who 
teaches us both what to speak, and after what manner to speak." He also 
quotes Luke xii. 11 and 12: "Take ye no thought how or what ye 
shall speak," etc., with the same application. De Doctrina Christiana, iv. 51. 

How often we find what are virtually prayers, quietly introduced in 
their preaching by clergymen who would not otherwise dream of using an 
unliturgical prayer, recorded or extempore, either at the beginning or 
close of their discourses. 


Jews, our Saviour, His Apostles, and the primitiTe Christians, 
never joined in any other than pre-composed set forms ; it being 
impossible to conceive that if the joint use of extempore prayers 
had been ever practised by the Apostles and first Christians, 
it could so soon have been laid aside. He, therefore, concludes 
that the joint use of pre-composed set forms was fixed by the 
Apostles in all the Churches they planted, and that, by the 
special Providence of God, it has been preserved as remarkably 
as the Christian Sacraments themselves. 1 

And here is a specimen of the contrary view : " Ho such thing 
" as a prescribed form of prayer appears to have been known in 
" the Christian Church for several hundred years after Christ." 
Again : " We think it perfectly evident that no forms of prayer, 
" no prescribed liturgies, were used in the apostolical age of the 
" Church. . . . Would not all this be manifestly absurd, if 
" public prayer had been by a prescribed liturgy in Basil's days ? 
" The truth is, it is evident that extempore or free prayer was 
" generally used in the primitive Church, and continued to be 
" used until orthodoxy and piety declined, and the grace, as well as 
" the gift, of prayer greatly diminished. Then ministers began to 
" seek the best aid they could procure. The Church, however, 

1 Wheatly's Rational Illustration of tlie Book of Oovnmon Prayer, 
pp. 16-18. There is a rare instance of this writer's rational illustration, at 
page 10 of his work, where he holds with regard to the prayer reported in 
Acts iv. 24, etc. ("When they heard that they lifted up their voice to 
God with one accord, and said"), that "they all joined together with 
audible voices, which they could not possibly have done, unless the prayer 
they used was a pre-composed set form " ; in favour of which view he argues 
at some length. But surely the whole circumstances related in this 
chapter give the prayer so unpremeditated and extempore a character, that 
we could hardly have conceived it possible to have imagined it a pre- 
composed form. Whcatly refuses the idea that one spoke, and the "rest 
joined mentally with him," which is the natural explanation ; and which. 
we find borne out by the Homilies of the English Church. Witness the 
Ninth Homily of the second book, where, referring to this passage, it is 
said, "And no doubt of it, they did not all speak with several voice, but 
some one of them spake in the name of them all, and the rest, giving 
diligent oar to his words, consented thereunto ; and therefore it is said 
that tJicy lifted up their voice together." 


" at large even then, provided no liturgies." And after quoting 
from Augustine, the writer adds, "Surely this could never 
" have happened, if the Church had been accustomed at that 
" time to the use of prescribed liturgies. In short, the very first 
" document in the form of a Prayer-Book of which we read, is a 
" libellus officialise mentioned in the proceedings of the Council 
" of Toledo, in the year 633 after Christ : and that was evidently 
" rather a ' Directory for the worship of God,' than a complete 
" liturgy." 

Now, such extreme views are not infrequent on either side. 
The liturgist appeals to immemorial practice, and the proprieties of 
public worship, for the exclusive use of a prescribed form ; and puts 
down any approach to unfixed or " extempore " prayer, as an odious 
departure from ecclesiastical discipline. The anti-liturgist, again, 
exclaims that public prayer, moulded in any set form of words, 
is unscriptural, condemns its formal spirit and prayerless tendency, 
and sometimes holds it upon these grounds to be unlawful. Where 
either view is so rigorously held, it is vain to hope for any favour 
to the via media, which we have recommended. But both 
parties will bend in some measure to the authority and practice of 
the primitive Church ; and, with this view, we propose to inquire 
what evidence there is of the use of liturgies in the earliest ages 
of Christianity, and how and when they became prevalent. 

This subject has been discussed by an author already alluded 
to. Bingham devotes three chapters of his learned work expressly 
to its consideration. Invaluable upon whatever matter he treats 
for the vast mass of authorities brought to bear upon it, he is 
neither philosophical, nor over-critical ; and his renderings some- 
times want that uniform exactness, which enables the reader 
implicitly to rely on the impression produced by their perusal. 
His verdict, too, is not always strictly in accordance with the 
evidence ; and from doubtful, and sometimes irrelevant testimony, 
he occasionally deduces confident, and even triumphant, con- 
clusions. Confining ourselves to his general theory, we find it 
to be thus stated, that at the first, 

c< Prayers, immediately dictated Ly the Spirit, made up a part of the 
ordinary service. . . . When the extraordinary Spirit of Prophecy ceased, 


then the rulers of the Church supplied the want by proper forms of their 
own composition, according to Christian prudence and discretion. And 
this seems to have been the true original of liturgies, or stated forms of 
divine service." 

Such supposed forms he considers "every Bishop had at first 
the privilege and power to compose and order," under the inde- 
pendent authority which the Bishops then severally possessed. 
And "this privilege to frame their own liturgies," he thinks 
they retained for several ages. It is sufficient upon this to 
remark, that the only instances he adduces in proof, are of date 
long subsequent to the primitive age, and throw no light whatever 
upon tlis first rise of stated forms of prayer. 

To account for the subsequent uniformity of the various 
liturgies, which each Bishop had thus originally to frame for 
himself, Bingham states that, 

" In after ages, Bishops agreed by consent to conform their liturgy to 
the model of the Metropolitioal Church of the Province to which they 
belonged. And whcu the Roman Empire began to be cantonised, and 
divided into different kingdoms, then came in the use of national liturgies, 
1 whoso use was commensurate to the bounds and limits of their respective 
nations and kingdoms " (bk. xiii. 5, sec. 2). 

But the several Councils to which he refers in proof of this 
assertion belong to the sixth century. 1 In fact, he admits that 
the rudiments of this discipline were first laid in the French 
Churches ; for in the Council of Agde, a canon was made about 
the year 506, "that one and the 'same order should be equally 
observed in all Churches of the Province, in all parts of divine 
service." But we shall immediately see that a very consider- 
able uniformity prevailed in the fourth century; and for this, 
Bingham accounts just as little as he does for the first rise of 

There is another treatise, however, of a more philosophical 
character, in which this subject is handled in a really scientific 
and conclusive manner, namely, the " Dissertation on Primitive 
Liturgies " prefixed by the Bev. William Palmer to his Antiquities 
of tlie English RitwA. The plan here followed is eminently 
1 Agdc, A.tx 506 ; Girondo, 517 ; Braga, 573. 


simple and original. It is that of ascending from present liturgies 
and known facts up the stream of time, and noticing every 
allusion met with, in analytic and backward progress, with refer- 
ence to the country and ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the writer. 
Bingham commences at the primitive age with an assumed 
position, which he brings regularly down with him. Palmer 
assumes nothing but what is known, and therefore proceeds along 
his argument with sure and certain step. 

At the outset, he rejects the assumption of an original and 
common type, 

"It seems to have been assumed by the learned, that there was origin- 
ally some apostolic form of liturgy in the Christian Church, to which all 
the monuments of ancient liturgies, and the notices which the Fathers 
supply, might be reduced. Were this hypothesis supported by facts, it 
would be very valuable. But the truth is, there are several different forms 
of liturgy now in existence which, as far as we can perceive, have been 
different from each other from the most remote period. And with regard to 
the propriety of the Apostles instituting one liturgy throughout the world, 
it may be observed, that it is quite sufficient to suppose that all liturgies 
originally agreed in containing everything that was necessary for the due 
celebration of the Eucharist ; but that they adopted exactly the same order, 
or received everywhere the same rites, is a supposition equally unnecessary 
and groundless" (vol. i., Introd. p. 6). 

Instead, therefore, of "attempting to reduce all the liturgies and 
notices of the Fathers to one common original, he has rather 
sought for the original by a reference to acknowledged facts." 
Beginning with existing monuments, he traces them backwards. 
Thus, taking the liturgy of a country, he inquires whether there 
be any trace of a different form having existed before it ; and 
upon the liturgy which, prima facie, is found to be the prescript- 
ive rite, he brings to bear all the notices of public worship found 
in the Fathers of that count?**/, or its immediate neighbourhood. 
It will be easily perceived, that a species of co-incidental proof 
may thus be obtained, at once conclusive and unexpected. In 
now attempting to place before the reader an illustration of this 
line of argument, it must be premised that the term liturgy is 
employed by Palmer "in the restricted sense it generally bears in 
the writings of the ancients, viz., as denoting the service wed in 
the celebration of the Eucharist. 31 In other words, it means the 


sacramental ritual, to the exclusion of all ante-communion prayers 
and acts of worship. The catechumenical service is assumed to 
have been performed, and the catechumens and others dismissed, 
before its commencement. Further, the name, even in this sense, 
has an uncertain meaning : as applied to later times it signifies an 
embodied and recorded composition \ but in the earlier ages, where 
conjecture takes the place of evidence, it means simply Me order of 
theyarts, and main substance, or tendency, of the cMtf jyrayers. 1 

The " liturgy of the Patriarchate of Antioch " is selected for 
illustration,, because the steps are far more complete, and the early 
authorities for it incomparably more numerous and detailed, than 
any other. Judaea, Mesopotamia, Syria, and part of Asia Minor, 
were included in this Patriarchate. A ritual called " the liturgy 
of St. James " prevails throughout this tract at the present day, 
as well among the Monophysites as the Orthodox ; - that of the 
former being in Syriac, of the latter in Greek. These existing 
monuments being compared together, that of the Orthodox Church 
is found slightly to vary in having admitted .several rites and 
anthems peculiar to the Constantinopolitan Church ; ami thin is 
exactly in accordance with what we should iijmori expect, from 
the relative position of the two Churches. There are, besides, 
other prayers, etc., peculiar to the Orthodox liturgy, supposed to 
have been introduced by the Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem. 
These alterations in the original rite all occurred before the tenth 
century, because they are found as they now stand, in an ancient 
MS. at least of that date ; and they are subsequent to the fifth 
century, as we shall presently see. 

1 Thus Palmer: "The liturgy may be old, though many MIMIC may be 
modern ; nay, all the prayers now existing in the Mitssal may bo modern, 
and yet the liturgy be most ancient The number and order of the parts is 
that which gives us the characters of the liturgy " (sec. 10, Introd. p. lf>8). 
So a /0m nfltturg'if, nwaninff its main order and g&Msrnl jwfotoMc, i.s ofton 
spoken of, as ascending to a primitive age when no liturgies existed iu a 
recorded form. 

2 That is, the Jacobites or Eutyehians, and the Melchites; among the 
latter, however, the commanding influence of the Greek, or Constant!- 
nopolitau, Church has introduced its own liturgy ; and the liturgy of St. 
James is now read only on the anniversary of that Apostle, 


Making allowances for these and other minor differences, it is 
astonishing how closely the Monophysite and Orthodox texts, thus 
extant and in actual use, agree together. 1 The following is the 
collation which, to show the force of the argument, is given 
nearly entire from Palmer : 

" After the kiss of peace, these liturgies "begin the Anaphora* 
with the henediction, 'The love of God ... he with you all.' 
Then follow the address, Sursum Corda, etc., 8 and a preface of 
a thanksgiving; then the hymn Teraanctv&f followed by a con- 
tinuation of the thanksgiving; then a commemoration of our 
Saviour's deeds and words at the Last Supper ; a verbal oblation ; 
and a prayer for the Holy Ghost to sanctify the elements into the 
Sacraments of Christ's body and blood. Whoever compares these 
parts of the Orthodox and Monophysite liturgies together, will be 
surprised at their minute agreement in sentiment and expression, 
when he considers the centuries that have elapsed since the 
separation of the Orthodox and the Monophysites. After this, 
the solemn prayers for all estates of men, and for all things, 
succeed. The order of these prayers is a little different in the 
two liturgies, but their substance and the words of the petitions 
generally agree. . . . The difference, as to expressions, is chiefly 
caused by a greater fulness and variety of epithet in one, than in 
the other. After the prayers and commemorations follow a salu- 
tation, and a bidding prayer by the Deacon: 5 then a collect 

1 The Monophysite text for the main body of the liturgy is "perfectly 
ascertained, not only by means of MSS. of various ages, but by ancient 
commentaries, which all accord with it" (Introd. p. 21). 

3 The Oriental name for the "Mystical Liturgy," or Communion Ritual. 

3 After "Lift up your hearts " follows the invariable response "we lift 
them up," etc.; after which " Let us give thanks," with its "it is meet so 
to do." 

4 This response, " Holy, holy, holy," by the whole body of the Faithful at 
an appropriate break in the thanksgiving, distinguishes all the early 
liturgies. It was always prefaced in the thanksgiving by a reference to the 
cherubim, and seraphim, and myriads of heavenly intelligences, in company 
with whom the Faithful upon earth join in song. The allusions to this 
practice are very common, and very early, among Christian writers. Vide 
Etheridge's Syrian Churches, pp. 203 and 227 ; and Bingham, vol. v. p. 68. 

8 "Peace be with you," and theinvariable response "and with thyspirit." 


introductory to the Lord's Prayer; then the Lord's Prayer and a 
benediction. After this comes the form of address TO, etyux rots 
dywis," followed by the people's confession of the unity of the 
Holy Trinity; then the bread is broken with some rites, which 
are not probably of any primitive antiquity, and communion takes 
place. After which come a prayer of thanksgiving, and a 
benediction of the people. The Orthodox liturgy gives these last 
forms at greater length than the Monophysite " l (vol. i., Introd. 
s. 1, pp. 27-29). 

Such being the conformity between the existing liturgies, 
in present and actual use by two distinct and opposed Churches, 
it is next proved by various testimony reaching back to the 
seventh century, that the liturgy thus common to both, has 
from that early period been dominated by the Liturgy of 
St. James. 

Now the Monophysites derive their origin from Eutyches, 
whose errors were condemned by the Council of Chalcedon, 
A.D. 451 : and ever since, a complete separation has obtained 
betwixt them and the Orthodox. Each regards the other as 
heretical, and shuns the slightest communion with or acknow- 
ledgment of the other, as an ecclesiastical body. Whatever is 
common to both now must therefore, by strong presumption, 
have been equally common before the middle of the fifth 

The " order, substance, and expressions" of both liturgies 
having thus been proved to be throughout "almost exactly 
the same," it is impossible to refuse assigning them a common 
origin earlier than the separation of the two bodies, or to deny 
"that they furnish sufficient means for ascertaining all the 
substance, and many of the expressions, which were used in the 
solemn Anaphora of the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem, 
before the Council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451," The common title, 
too, we may infer, is older than that Council ; and this Apostolic 

1 The force of this coincidence of order, substance, and generally of 
expression, will he fully appreciated by comparing this description with the 
translation of "St. James's Liturgy," in Etheridge's Syrim Churches, 
pp. 208-227, 


appellation warrants us in inferring, not only that one and 
the same liturgy lay at the point of divergence, but that such 
common liturgy was "considered even at that time to be very 
ancient, and therefore must really have been long used in the 

3STow commences the last step. The scattered and incidental 
notices of early writers who lived in the vicinity are brought to 
bear upon the identity of the ancient service of the Church with 
that now in use, both as to order and substance. 

Theodoret, Bishop of Cyprus, early in the fifth century, quotes the bene- 
diction, and adds "This is the beginning of the mystical liturgy iu all 

Jerome specifics an expression still extant in the liturgy, as daily repeated 
by the priests. 1 He also quotes the Lord's Prayer, as every day recited in 
the (Commemorative) sacrifice. 

Chrysostom makes frequent reference to the service and dismissal of the 
catechumens ; after which he refers to a prayer of the Faithful, and the 
kiss of peace. "He mentions the benediction ; the address ' Sursum Corda, ' 
etc. ; the call to thanksgiving, and the usual response 'it is just and right, 1 
etc. ; the solemn Thanksgiving, which he describes in such terms as leave 
no doubt of its identity with that of the Monophysito and Orthodox 
liturgies of St. James : the hymn Tersancfou." The commemorative words 
of our Saviour are also hinted at, and the invocation of the Holy Spirit is 
distinctly referred to. a "He speaks plainly of the general prayers, which 
follow. ... He mentions the use of the Lord's Prayer, the form r& &yia 
row &yiois t the breaking of bread, and the Communion " (pp. 30-84). 

Still earlier, Ephrem 8yrus t of Odessa, though he speaks mystically on 
account of the secrecy of the liturgy, yet "plainly refers to the order of 
the solemn prayer used in the consecration of the Eucharist. He mentions 
the oblation ; then the prayer of deprecation and repentance to God ; then 
the invocation of the Holy Spirit to sanctify the gifts ; then the prayer of 
the priest for all things ; then the Communion. He plainly refers to the 
thanksgiving, and the hymn Terswwtus. 

Oyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, about the middle of the fourth century, 
gives a detailed account of the service, "with a minuteness which is most 
satisfactory, and which establishes in a remarkable manner, the antiquity of 

1 Sacerdotnm quotidie ora concelebrant, 6 /i6vos foapdprrjos, quod in 
lingua nostra dicitur, "qui solus eat sine peccato." Lib. ii. adv. Pelag. 

2 A paucity of reference to this part of the service is attributed to the 
secrecy with which it was kept from the world. And the reason is valid 
throughout the fourth century at least. 



St. James's liturgy." An outline of his description will be found in the. 
annexed Schedule of liturgies. 

The same may be said of the complete "Clementine Liturgy," given in 
the 8th Book of the Apostolical Constitutions, 1 the order of which will also 
appear from the Schedule. 

The process is now complete. 2 The " liturgy of St. James," in its main 
features, has been traced up to the Sacramental service in common and 
already time-honoured use in the middle of the fourth century. The order 
of service, the general tendency of the several prayers and suffrages, many 
of the identical expressions with their context, as repeated in that early 
age throughout Syria, correspond in inimitable coincidence and accuracy 
with the present liturgy. No reasonable man can withhold the conclu- 
sion, that in the main they are part of an originally one and the same 

The subject cannot be pursued further in detail. We shall 
confine ourselves now to general results. 

Following out in each case the above process, Palmer classifies 
all liturgies of which we have any remains or notices, into four 
great Families, the differences between which are ascribed to 

1 The Apostolical Constitutions are quoted by Epiphanius, Bishop of 
Salamis, A.D. 368 : but it is improbable that the work then existed in its 
present state ; and the 8th Book, which contains tbe liturgy, may not have 
been written till the fifth century. rfech. Ixxxv. QfLswdneT' a Or edibility 
of Gospel History. The liturgy, given in the ConstitMions, bears the name 
of Clement of Rome ; but it coincides with the substance and order of the 
Oriental, not of the Roman, liturgy. Palmer thinks that it " ought not to 
be regarded as an authentic copy of the liturgy of any Church. ... In its 
order, substance, and many of its expressions, it is identical with that of 
St. James ; but the author has evidently permitted his learning and devotion 
to enrich the common formularies with numerous ideas full of piety and 
beauty." It was apparently one of the attempts, in those days common, of 
improving the liturgies, which had lately begun to assume a recorded form. 
Palmer argues for the antiquity of this liturgy from the absence of the Lord's 
Prayer, which was evidently used universally in the fourth century. The 
circumstance is strange, but does not appear to prove any antiquity : since 
this prayer, from its Divine institution, must be presumed to have entered 
into the composition of the very earliest recorded liturgies. 

9 Palmer attempts to carry up the proof a step higher viz., by Justin 
Martyrto the second century. But the notices of Christian service given 
by that writer, are only such generalities as we might expect in any service 
founded on our Lord's institution, at a time when the verbal detail had not 
yet been fixed or recorded. 


variety in the primitive type as set up by the Apostles themselves, 
or by others in the Apostolical age. 

I. The ORIENTAL LITURGY. Under this head come the liturgies of 
Antioch, Csesarea, and Constantinople. ,The first we have considered at 
large. The second bears the name of Basil, Bishop of Ctesarea, in Capa- 
docia, who composed it in the latter part of the fourth century ; and the third 
(now used in the Greek Church) differs from Basil's liturgy only in "a 
greater fulness of idea in one than in the other, but in nothing else." 

The liturgy of Basil exists in three texts Greek, Syriao and Coptic. The 
latter is used by the Monophysites of Egypt, and is considered to be of 
antiquity beyond the Council of Ohalcedon. There are hardly any early 
notices of this liturgy beyond the historical fact that Basil was its author. 
Palmer considers it to be of great importance : " In one respect this liturgy 
must be considered as the most valuable that we possess. We can trace 
back the words and expressions to about the year 370 or 380. This is not 
the case with any other liturgy. The expressions of all other liturgies we 
cannot certainly trace, in general, beyond the fifth century" (sec. 2, 
p. 67). 

The order of the Armenian liturgy corresponds exactly with that of 
Basil. It is supposed to have been derived from Ccesarea by Gregory the 
Illuminator, who founded most of the Armenian Churches in the beginning 
of the fourth century. This supposition (it can be called nothing more) 
affords, according to Palmer, "a very strong presumption that the order and 
substance of Basil's liturgy prevailed in the exarchate of Caesarea long before 
his time" (Appendix, p. 191). 

II. The ALEXANDRIAN LITURGY. The Coptic liturgy of (the Alex- 
andrian) Cyril used by the Monophysites, is considered to be the ancient rite 
of Alexandria. It coincides in a remarkable manner with "the liturgy of 
the Ethiopians," and with the Greek Orthodox "liturgy of St. Mark." 
These three differ from all other liturgies, in the position of the prayers for 
all estates. 1 Very minute and satisfactory allusions to the order, and expres- 
sions occurring in it, are quoted from Isidore, Cyril Alexaudrinus, Atha- 
nasius, Dionysius, and Origen. 

III. The ROMAN LITUIIGY is traced by some dubious notices up to the 
time of Gregory Vigilius and Gelasius. 3 Leo the Great (A.D. 451) is said 
to have added " to the Canon certain words " ; and it is therefore considered 
to be older than his time. There exists in the authentic writings of the 
primitive ages no collateral notices whatever of the liturgy of Rome. The 
11 Am.brosian Liturgy" of Milan is supposed to have been an early offshoot 
from the Roman, and retains the original position of the Lord's Prayer, 
which was altered by Gregory. 1 There are some slight allusions to this 

1 ride Schedule. 3 Viz., to the years 600, 538, and 492 A.D, 


ritual in the works of Ambrose. The Bouian rite is distinguished by the 
absence of any invocation, and by the position of the kiss of peace at the 
close of the service. 

The liturgy of Africa, of which no remains have been left from the ravages 
of the Moslems, is classed by Palmer with the Roman because, differing from 
all others, it agrees with it in placing the kiss of peace at the conclusion 
of the Eucharist. It, however, fraternises with the Oriental form, in having 
an invocation of the Holy Spirit. Many incidental notices, sufficient to give 
a clear outline of this liturgy, are gleaned from the African Fathers, viz., 
Fulgentius, Augustine, Optatus, Cyprian, and Tertullian. 

IV. The GALLIOAN LITURGY appears to have been distinguished by 
the position of the prater for the living and departed Saints, which here 
preceded the opening kiss of peace. It seems also doubtful whether it 
contained any prayer for the catechumens, or any prefatory prayer of the 
Faithful; in place of these, the Deacon, probably in the form of a litany, 
made prayers for the people, which were summed up by the priest. The 
Ittuargy of Spain is thought to have corresponded with, and been derived 
from the practice of France. 

By a train of somewhat fine-drawn reasoning, the Galilean is traced to a 
supposed liturgy of Ephesus. " If this be so," adds Palmer, " we may feel 
almost certain that the Galilean liturgy was derived from a period of 
Apostolical antiquity." There is no early authority or reasonable proof to 
support this assumption. 

It is conjectured that the early liturgy of Britain resembled the Galilean. 
But in the fifth century the Roman ritual gained prevalence in Ireland ; 
and, in the sixth or seventh century, the Sacramentary of Gregory was 
introduced into Britain also. 

Now, the main conclusions thus briefly sketched may be at 
once accepted The result is this, that a fixed order of sacra- 
mentary service is traced back to the fourth century, with four 
grand variations, as then prevailing in as many different quarters 
of the Roman Empire. The lesson will be best learned by an 
examination of the accompanying Schedule, prepared chiefly from 
the details presented in Palmer's book. The English ritual is 
added to facilitate comparison. The Nestorian liturgy, which 
Palmer passes slightingly over, 1 is also inserted. 

1 Vide, Appendix to vol. i. p. 194. A translation of the entire Nestorian 
liturgy is given by Btheridgo in his Syrian, Churches, p. 221. From the 
Schedule it will be observed, that the Nestorian differs from other liturgies 
in placing the prayer for all men between the thanksgiving and invocation. 
Benandot thinks that tins is the rite which was current in Mesopotamia, 
before tho rise of Neatoriauism. But Palmer discards this opinion, because 

To face page 180.] 

Comparative Schedule of And *it aw^ Modem Liturgies. 


"Clementine Litur- 
gy," from the 

Cyril's Description of 
the Liturgy at 

Chrysoatom's Notices 
of the Sacramental 

Nostorian Li 
as extau 

Liturgy of St. James, 
as extant. 

Liturgy of Basil, 

Armenian Liturg}*, 
as, extant. 

JOS? n - 



Prayera of the Faith- 

Three prayers of the 

Scripture, etc. 


Washing of hands by 

Sermon, etc. 



Salutation, and Kiss 


Dismissal of cate- 



Prayers of Oateuhu- 
me-us, penitents, etc. 

Sursum Corda, etc. 

frayers for energu- 
mens, catechumens, 
and penitents. 

Dismissal of these. 


)ismissal of 

Sursum Corda, etc. 

Contin. of thanks- 


Sursum Corda, etc. 

Contiu. of thanks- 


Sursum Conla, etc. 

Coutin. of thanks- 


Prayer of the Faith- 

Ablution of hands. 
tiurmim Qurdtt* etc. 

Thanksgiving, with 

IiivocrtfiflH of Holy 

commemoration of 

Prayer of the Faith- 

Salutation and Kiss 

Sursum Conla, etc. 

Verbal aldutic 

Salutation an 

Vimvm C'nntn 

Verbal Oblation. 

Verbal Oblatioii. 
Limcatum of Holy 

Oblation of elements. 



Thanksgiving, with 


Invocation of Holy 


fiwocatioii of ttvly 

Contiu. of thanks- 

HOLY, response of 
divine unity. 

TION (perhaps). 

Contin. of th 
ing PRAYI 

TATES, and comme- 
moration of living 




Communion (with PH. 
(Mate ct Mete, 

Invocation (alluded 



and dead. 

Bidding prayer by 


FRACTION of the 


Verbal Oblation. 

Jnittfotivn nf Holy 


commemoration of 
living and dead. 

Ivwnttitm n 


General pra 






T& kym rut ityiue. 










OM n,1i .<!* 

HOLY, and response 
of unity. 

FRACTION of the 




HOLY, and response 
of unity. 


Loitu'a PRAYI 



(The order is hi HOIUO 

HOLY, and 



cases assumed ; the 

of unity. 



notices boing casual 

..... -...i 

Prayer of thanks- 












1 (Jerome states this 

practice to have been 


customary in Pales- 



ffwwcw Canto, " Lift up your hearts ." alwoyn with the reply-" We lift them up," etc. ; and gjjnraUy alun 
The Salutation, " /tarn to with uw,' ] with the reply, " ant wtth thy spirit," generally prectwlwi the Kiw* of 
77w IPonfii of institution gewrally embraced also a recital of our Saviour's acts and words at the moment. 

The Tw&Mwtw fo the Seraphtaal Jiymn, "Holy, holy, holy." 


- ' - 



Mofk-rn Rncrlish 

BXTANT. i Ancient Roman 

Africnn Liturgy, from 
Notices of Africnn 

Ancient Liturgy ' 
of Gaul. 

Spanish or Mosarabiv 



(initisal of nnbap- Anthem. 




General prayer, for all 
estate's, with men- 

" iCollei-t. 


Deacon's jjraycr for ; 

Soriptur**, et<-. 

tion of departed 




ayei-H of Fnithfnl. i 
] Scripture, 
utation and Kiss, 


Dismissal of nnbap- ' 

Dismissal of catechu- 


)K PKACB. { Sermon. 

Dismissal of unhap- 

ti'unl. < 

Adilrcss, | Confession. 



f tin tit Ciirdrt, He. ; Dismissal of catechu- 

fill ALL BSTATKS, j Silent prayers, 
uid commemoration 

Washintf of hands. 
tfnivitiH (brttf t t'ff. 


/tiettmfitHi of blfssijig i 
(not wirly). 

Prayi-r coiiiiiiendin^ 
ohlation to Uod, 

CoiiHiK>moratioii of 

tfiiMum ^Vrtv/r/, rtf. 

if dead; thanks- 

tfuwHM Cnrtfft, r(t\ 


Coiuuieiiioration of 

living ami dwid. 

ThankMgiviimi with 

giving restimod with 





Vt-rlial Ohlation. 

departed nud living ' 

Collect, and KIKS OK 

Prayer of CJonswira- 




Comnifinnration of the 

Kiss fir PKARH, and 
coll<'<*t for imice. 

to/WM /Wr/, ,*. 

tion, with WfiMUH 

I'rJfcyiT of deprecation, 

the living. 
1 'ray IT that tin* ob- 





, mid 

IttlWttfiilH fif lllty 


lation might 1 

"'"* ' 



(Vmtin. of tlutnk^iv- 

LoitJj'M PttAYKIt. 

>ll of 



Mention of Christ'* 

Coutiii. of tiiaukspfiv-i 

...... _ 



WIIRHH ov ixs-rwr- 

passion and <Uath. 

IVtitum for saiirtiiii'n- 





<?ornm(>monittou of 




Verbal ohlation. 

departed Baints. 

Tto.v (vcr1*al tih 


Wnitim OK iXMTiTr- 



-a 1- 

tiun ntid i)in*ftttt 



r for 

Oommcmoration of <l<>- 

t 1 !! ACTION. 


purted Haintfi. 

L - V, 

/wftMtfvM t\f ll^y 

1 f oiiY. 






-.-,. -.. 









Mutation and KISH 


LoitiVK PUAYKU, ; 



.. ' 



> THK; 

HpOMSt* ; 


Communion (with An- 

t'omnniiiiou (with A 


(*ommuninn(\vith PH. 
(fitHtttt? t'f riifftf) ' 



t<'. ). 

Uwgory, th famt'x 

^ "' 

TltaukHKiviiiff, ; 

J'miffir has liocn itut 

kiforc the Fractunt. 

The Mn*AKUtnrgy re- 

tains the old practice: 

it omits the 2nd ohla- 

tion: in other respecte 

its ordc*r ruwiml>hi the 


Roman rite. 

rtth the addition-" Lrt UK give thaukH," and it IK Jmt and right HO to do/ 1 
WMM. tt ajfto occurred in many places (OhryHontom mentions ix or wvwi) nt Uu* Miftait Om*nttt 



But the evidence on which these conclusions are founded, 
does not go back beyond the middle of the fourth century. As 
you ascend higher, the incidental notices of acts and expressions 
belonging to the ritual, such as we find in Chrysostom or Cyril, 
become fewer, and at length altogether cease. There is no longer 
any kind of detail; allusion and description merge into the 
purely general. In a footnote are thrown together all the refer- 
ences we can find, having any bearing on the use of forms of 
prayer prior to the time of Cyril of Jerusalem; and it will be 
observed that they give no evidence whatever of the general use 
of any ritual in a recorded form; and hence the presumption 
that, had any such existed, the terms in which it was expressed 
would have been suitably mentioned as occasion offered. 1 

Ephrem Syrus, "who lived at Edessa, the very centre of Apostolical preach- 
ing," in the passage already quoted, speaks of the general prayer, as follow- 
ing the invocation of the Holy Ghost. But his expressions are very general. 
He notices prayers (pro servis orat Dominum, etc.) as preceding the invoca- 
tion, which might answer to the Nestorian petitions, considered by Palmer 
out of place : and the prayer after the invocation is also spoken of, in such 
general terms (orationem^ro cwwtis faciente), as might apply to the prayer 
for the peace of the whole world, the Church, empire, etc., and the departed, 
which actually follows the invocation. This last-mentioned prayer agrees 
with the commencement of the general prayers referred to by Cyril, much 
more closely than does the "liturgy of St. James." The position of this 
prayer, moreover, might not have been essential ; it might have been 
customary either before or after the invocation. 

It will he observed from the Schedule that this liturgy possesses much in 
common with the Monophysite and Orthodox liturgies ; it also coincides 
in some remarkable particulars with the Alexandrian liturgy ; but with the 
Churches practising these rites, the Nestorians have, from the fifth century, 
held no communion. How could they then, upon Mr. Palmer's own oft- 
repeated grounds, have derived such common material from Churches 
whose fellowship they abjured? The Nestorian Church is, besides, as 
ancient and as venerable as the Monophysite or Orthodox, and has been 
more independent, and at some periods more extensive. She was at one 
time a burning and shining example of missionary zeal to the Church at 
large. And we cannot help assigning a position to her liturgy as honourable 
and ancient, as to that of the Monophysites. 

1 (1) Athanasius has few allusions to forms : he mentions the symphony 
of the people's united voice (implying some sort of stated prayer): 
their saying "Amen," and their praying for the Emperor. He speaks 


Supposing, then, that in the first ages of the Church there 
was no embodiment of prayer in a written form, how and whence 
did the liturgies arise which were recorded with much general 
uniformity throughout the Christian world, "before the dose of the 
fourth century ? Palmer holds that the concurrent uniformity of 
several such liturgies, as traced thus up to the fourth century, 
warrants us in ascribing the source of their order and substance 
to the most primitive antiquity ; as, for instance, in the Alex- 
andrian liturgy, "to the instructions and appointment of the 
blessed Evangelist Mark." Thus in his Introduction : 

"The liberty, which every Christian Church plainly had and exercised 
in the way of improving its formularies, confirms the antiquity of 'the four 
great liturgies ; for where this liberty existed, it could scarcely have been 
anything but reverence for the Apostolic source, from which the original 
liturgies were derived, that prevented an infinite variety of formularies, 
and preserved the substantial uniformity which we find to have prevailed in 

of the oblation (irpofffopd) being offered in the absence of the cate- 

(2) Cornelius, Bishop of Borne (A.D. 250), as quoted by Eusebius, refers 
to the Anien, pronounced by the communicant on receiving the bread. 

(3) Dionysius of Alexandria (A.D. 250), similarly quoted, objects to bap- 
tizingaman, after he had long been a communicant, "heard the thanks- 
giving, and added aloud his Amen, stood by the table, and stretched out 
his hands to receive the sacred food.' 1 

(4) Cyprian (250) says that " before prayer the priest prepared the minds 
of the brethren by the prefatory "Sursum Oordu," to which the people 
replied, " JRfomiu ad Dowtowm," etc. 

He mentions the commemoration of the living and the dead ; and he 
notices the recitation of our Saviour's sacramental words at the communion. 
Epist. ad CutiL 

(5) Firmilian of Ctesarea, in a letter to Cyprian, speaks of a woman, who 
administered the sacraments, and consecrated the bread "invocatione non 
contemptibili," and pretended " Eucharistiam facere, et Sacrificium Domino, 
non sine Sacramento solitac predicatiouis, offeree." The prayers, here 
alluded to, were evidently fixed as to their main character and tendency, 
and the juncture at which they were offered up ; but whether they were 
fixed and recorded, as to verbal expression, is uncertain j the epithet given 
to the invocation argues rather for its being unfixed. 

(6) Origcn mentions the kiss of peace, as founded on Bom. xvi. 16, etc.; 
the Eucharistal thanksgiving, and the sanctifying effect of that and prayer 
upon the elements ; he also " appears to quote from the prayers" 


vast districts of the primitive Clmrch" (p. 8). Again, with respect to the 
different branches of the Oriental family, " The uniformity between these 
liturgies, as extant in the fourth or fifth century, is such as bespeaks a 
common origin. Their diversity is such as to prove the remoteness of the 
period at which they originated. To what remote period can we refer, as 
exhibiting a perfect general uniformity of liturgy, except to the Apostolic 
age?(s. 8, p. 81). 

& rats efyats XfyoAtev, 66* Traw&r/xwo/), rty /*ep5a IHUV /tera ruv 
8 fa. K.T.X.); and something of the kind is still found in the African 
liturgy. How far we are to understand that the forms alluded to were 
fixed, and uniformly and widely adopted, it is difficult to say. 

(7) Clemens Alexcmdrinus, early in the third century, speaks of the 
"congregation, prostrate at their prayers, having as it were a common voice, 
and one opinion." Unless this be metaphorical, prayers, fixed to some 
extent at least, are implied. 

(8) Tertullian mentions the kiss of peace "after prayer had with the 
brethren " ; alludes to the use of the " Tersanctus " ; the response " Amen," 
and far aluvos els aluvas. He states also that the emperors and public 
officers were remembered in their prayers, and adds, "denique sine moni- 
tore, quia de pectore, oremus." 

(9) IrencBUS, in the end of the second century, says that the earthly bread 
after receiving r^v tmK\vjffii' rSv 6eov, is no longer common bread, but the 
Eucharist ; and refers to the expression eis ro&? at&vas ruv alibvw, as said at 
the Eucharist, or thanksgiving, probably at its usual termination. 

(10) Justin Martyr, in the middle of the second century, specifies prayers 
common to the assembled Church (xoivas e&gfa) after baptism ; describes the 
assemblies on Sunday ; the reading of the Apostles and prophets ; the pre- 
sident's sermon founded thereon $ and finally ta-eera dword/tela Kotvij ir&vres, 
jcai e&x&s TrtfjLTTojtev. The sacramental service is thus narrated: "Having 
ceased from prayer, they kiss each other: then bread and the cup are 
brought to the president of the brethren ; and he, receiving them, offers 
praise and glory to the Father of all through the name of the Son and the 
Holy Spirit : a thanksgiving for these benefits is made at great length (eirt 
TroXu) ; which, as well as the prayers, being ended, all the people say 
"Amen" He repeats this, without any addition: Kal ws vpoe^fuv, 
ira.woLiJ.evwv jjfiuv n?s edg^s, Apros irpofffopereu. . . . Aral 6 irpo<rr&s e#x&$ 
6/tole0$ Kf I ctixapuTTtds $<rrj Sfoajus atirf dyave/Mret, Kal 6 Xads tirevipqfiiAi, Xyw 
TO 'A.MV, He also speaks of the food being blessed, SL cfyfis \6yov, which 
Palmer refers to the words of our Lord (vol. i. p. 42). 

(11) Pliny (A.D. 107) speaks of the Christians singing a hymn alternately 
to Christ as God, which is quoted by Bingham, as bearing on the subject ; 
but hymnody is perfectly consonant with the use of unfixed prayers. We have 
already mentioned Bingham's references to Lurtan&nd Ignatius as untenable. 


Nevertheless he repeatedly holds l that "the primitive liturgies 
were not committed to writing at first, but to memory " (pp. 9 
121) ; and he is only " strongly inclined to think that St. James's 
liturgy was already committed to writing in the time of Cyril, or 
before the middle of the fourth century," The Apostolical 
element, then, of whatever nature, was originally committed to 
memory, and by memory alone was perpetuated. Palmer no- 
where tells us what he thinks was the nature or extent of that 
Apostolical authority or liturgical institution, which maintained 
itself so long essentially intact in the memory of the Church, and 
with such rare tenacity of its proper and original dress, that when, 
after the lapse of centuries, it began generally to be recorded, the 
result was everywhere such extraordinary uniformity. Such 
faithfulness might in vain be expected from the treacherous 
memory of man. 

In what, then, does this supposed Apostolical element consist ? 
It will be observed that Palmer's expressions on this point are 
vague, and capable of the most elastic interpretation. They care- 
fully exclude particulars ; and it may be possible to construe them 
as referring simply to the general order and procedure followed in 
the sacramental service. The equivocal sense of the term liturgy , 
already noticed, helps towards this supposition. And in this view, 
there would no doubt be a large substratum of solid truth in 
Palmer's theory. The liturgies composed by Basil, by Hilary, 
and by Cyril of Alexandria, would hardly have taken their place 
so quietly and generally, had they not been in accordance, either 
with a previously recorded liturgy, or with the groundwork of a 
service in current and established use. 2 Such groundwork, again, 
being in so many places common, argues that something common 
must be traced up to a convergent point, if not to the Apostolical 
era. Supposing, then, this common material to have been con- 
fined to the general order or plan of procedure in the sacramental 
worship, let us see whether there were any causes at work pre- 

1 The same view is held by Bingham and Eenandot. Fide Bingham, 
bk. xiii. oh. 5, s. 3. 

* Thus Basil informs us that "the customs of divine service, which he 
had appointed, were consonant and agreeable to all the Churches of God." 


paring the Church, in whole and in its several parts, spontane- 
ously to adopt such a uniformity of expression as we find pre- 
valent in the fourth century. The following appear important 
considerations of this nature. 

First, then, from whatever source derived, strange and awful 
ideas regarding the sacramental rites began to spring up in the 
third century, if not earlier. The ceremony, irrespective of the 
faith of the recipient, possessed a mysterious efficacy. Baptism 
took the lead in this illusion; the rite itself, the "pool of regener- 
ation," was early talked of as wiping away sin, and a corre- 
spondingly early importance was attached to the verbal ritual 
accompanying it. 1 The Eucharist followed with willing steps : 
an unearthly virtue entered the elements; they became (meta- 
phorically at first) the body of the Lord ; and the commemorative 
act passed into a sacrifice offered up for the assembly, and for the 
whole Church. It became a most "dread," "awful," "tremen- 
dous mystery." 2 But what imparted this heavenly character to 
the elements ^and oblation? Evidently it was the consecrating 
prayer of the priest. "No wonder, then, that a mysterious virtue 
began to attach to the words themselves, and a deep anxiety to 

1 We accordingly find that the formulas of Baptism were fixed long 
before those of the Eucharist. Thus Firmilian mentions that the woman 
who administered the sacraments, "haptizarat multos, usitata et legitima 
verba interrogationis usurpans, ut nil discrepare ab ecolesiastica regula 
viderentur." Much stress is also kid on the rite having thus been per- 
formed "ad imaginem veritatis" (Epist. LXXV. Cyprian's Works}. Bing- 
ham adduces many early notices of the baptismal formulrc from Tortnllian 
and others. 

> a QpiKwdcffrara /iwrtyNo. "Most dread-inspiring rites." The contrast 
has been well drawn between these "terrible and astounding mysteries," 
and the simple "kindly soothing and gentle practice " of the early Church, 
by Isaac Taylor, in his indent Christianity, p. 587 ; although he appears 
to fall back too exclusively on the celibate institution as its cause. 

See this subject, and its collaterals, well brought out in "Ghrysostom ; 
a Sketch," in No. II. of Kitto's Journal of Sacred btterature. Transub- 
stantiation was not a formal doctrine of the Church in the fourth century, 
but the uneasy dread with which the sacrifice and oblation began then to bo 
looked upon, led to the most equivocal expressions on the subject. Thus, 
as Jeremy Taylor remarks, Chrysostom's authority has been quoted on both 
sides. Works, vol. x. p. 84. 


pervade both priest and people, lest the efficacy of the sacrament 
should be impaired, or entirely lost, by the use of an illegitimate 
or informal ritual. Eishops of sanctity and learning would be 
looked to as the safest guides. Words used by such men might 
be adopted without any apprehension of a deficiency that would 
vitiate the saving virtue. It was security even to err in company 
with a Cyprian or a Gregory Thaumaturgus. 1 The consecrating 
forms employed by such men, would thus be imitated or reduced 
to writing, and come universally into use. 2 The framework of 
the sacramental liturgy already existed in the simple institution 
of Christ as followed by the Apostles; and within the various 
parts of this framework the forms now beginning to be intro- 
duced would materially be interwoven, forming thus a complete 
recorded liturgy. 

Next, the federal bond which united the early Church, and 
the constant communication kept up betwixt its various quarters, 

1 The forms of Gregory Thaumaturgus were long closely observed in the 
Church of Neo-Ctesarea. Basil, speaking of the admiration in which lie 
was hold, says "for which reason they have not taken up any custom, word, 
or mystical rite, beside what they received from him. Insomuch that 
Church appears defective in many respects, because they have nothing but 
what is andwiti for they who have succeeded him in the government of 
the Churches, would admit none of those things that have been since 
invented, but have kept entirely to the first institutions, as derived from 
him." Vide Lardner's Cred., vol. vii. p. 621. This illustrates the manner 
in which the liturgy grew up. Basil's endeavour to introduce his own anti- 
phonal mode of singing at Oeesarea, shows that they had admitted the use 
of litanies, since the time of Gregory. 

9 The following from Basil illustrates this position : TA TT)S ^rutX^crew g 
fffllMTa,, ivi rfj dpa$Jei roO Aprov rfy eflxa/wtrrfas Ka.1 roO vomiptov TTJS etfXoyfas, 
rts ruv a.yiuv lyypctyw yiuv KaraX&otTey* 01) ybp d^j rofrrots dp/cofyie0a &v 6 
AirfoToXo? ij rb EfaTyeXto? lire/u^o-l^, dXX& /cai lirtXeyojuep trepa,, &s peydXirjY 
fyoAwa Tpite rb fAVfrr/ipiov r^v Iffxbv, K r%s aypd<f>ov &$a07caXlas wapaXajS^ws. 
-De Spirits Sancto, o. 27. Tins seems to prove that there we*j, even in 
Basil's time, no written prayera of Apostolical authority. The only docu- 
ments, even in that late age believed to be of primitive times, were the 
narratives of "the Gospel and the Apostle" (Paul). Besides the com- 
memorative words and directions there recorded, they added, " before and 
after, other things, as Having great efficacy toward* the mystery, taking 
them from the unwritten teaching." 


would produce an interchange and diffusion of the sacramental 
forms, when they came to be recorded. One cannot read the 
early Fathers, without seeing that there was a constant tendency 
to oneness of detail throughout the Church. Cyprian's corre- 
spondence will illustrate not merely this spirit, but the mode 
also in which such correspondence was itself an efficient agent in 
producing uniformity. 

The Councils of the third and fourth centuries tended directly 
to the same result. Witness the apparently annual synods of the 
third century; 1 the Council at Carthage (A.D. 256) regarding 
the baptism of heretics ; that of Borne (251) against Novatian ; 2 
and the assembly at Antioch (269), to which bishops, presbyters, 
and deacons hurried from all directions to convict Paul, "the 
defiler of Christ's flock." 8 Such gatherings would tend, not 
merely by the communion and sympathy excited among the 
orthodox party, indirectly to uniformity of sentiment and of rite, 
but directly by the decisions then passed. Every heresy, real or 
supposed, and every Council denouncing such heresy, narrowed 
by degrees the sphere of private judgment ; and the safest mode 
of avoiding the suspicion, or the reality, of unsound doctrine, 
would be to adopt the practice of some approved orthodox leader, 
and make use of forms of devotion sanctioned by his authority. 
The life-long struggle and truly heroic tenacity of Athanasius, 
for the finest-drawn points of orthodoxy, had perhaps as much 
effect as anything else in setting the type of liturgical forms. 4 

1 Compare Finnilian, Bishop in Cappadooia, writing to Cyprian, Bkhop 
of Carthage: "Neoessario apud nos fit, ut per singulos annos seniores et 
^praepositi in unum conveniamus, ad disponenda ea, quae curae nostrae 
commissa aunt, ut, siqua graviora aunt, commani consilio dirigantur." 

9 At which sixty bishops and a greater number of presbyters and 
deacons were present, besides the district assemblies. Ensebius, Eccl. 
st., vi. 48. 

"Euselyus, after enumerating the chief bishops from various countries 
present at this Council, says that "the vast number of others, both 
presbyters and deacons, one oould hardly number. Idem, vii. 28. 

4 The influence of Councils upon forms is well exemplified by the 
immediate introduction throughout Christendom of the Nicean Creed as an 
expression of belief at baptism. Vide Bingham, vol. iv. p. 226 ; Bk. xiii. 
5, s. 7. An analogous influence was no doubt immediately exercised by 


Monasticism. helped much, to embody and assimilate the various 
forms of prayer. The spirit of the institution, as graphically 
described by the author of "Ancient Christianity," required the 
continual excitement of an ever-recurring service, which thus 
provided matter for the unwholesome vacuity in the minds of 
multitudes of men and women taken from the natural employment 
of public and domestic life. The daily and nightly prayers would 
necessarily settle down into a recorded form. The fraternities of 
monks and virgins, scattered over various countries, must have 
co-operated in giving a uniformity of character and detail to 
the services in whose introduction they had themselves been 
instrumental. 1 

Lastly, the imperial establishment of Christianity supplied the 
place of an (Ecumenical authority. 3 The Emperor summoned, 

this Council on the sacramental liturgy also, though the Creed was not 
introduced into it for some time after. 

1 This may be illustrated from Palmer's account of the liturgy of Ctesarea : 
"To account for the introduction of this liturgy into Egypt is not difficult 
Basil was no doubt particularly famous in Egypt, for being the great founder 
of the Monastic institute in Fontus and the neighbouring provinces, the 
Monastic rule, whether of Macherites, or Coenobites, prevailed sooner and 
more extensively in Egypt, than perhaps anywhere else. And it was here, 
and in Syria, that Basil learnt the discipline, which on his return he 
established in Fontus. It is not wonderful, therefore, that his liturgy 
should have been gladly received in Egypt " (sec. 2, p. 62). 

3 It does not seem probable that liturgies were introduced in Constantino's 
reign : but to the diligent peruser of his life, it will be evident how readily 
the new element must have acted in formalising religion. He gave a form 
of prayer to be used by his heatJwn soldiery. Euseb., Life of Const., iv. c. 19 
and 20. He called himself "a Bishop ordained by God, to overlook, 
whatever externally related to the Church." Idem, c* 24. The meetings 
of heretics were suppressed by him both in public and private ; involving 
an inquisition into their doctrine and form of worship. Idem. iii. 65. He 
enacted that Sunday should be the special day for prayer. Idem. iv. 48. 
He arrayed his Palace like a Church ; and himself read the Scriptures, and 
offered up the regular prayers, edgfa frOtffpovs.Idem, 17. What sort of 
prayers those were, that an unbaptizod person, like Constantino, could offer 
up (on the liturgical system), does not appear. The last-mentioned is 
almost the only expression regarding him which might refer to fixed prayers, 
and even that is very general. In the 36th chapter of the 4th book is a letter 
from Constantine, commissioning Eusebius to procure fifty copies of the 


and presided over, the general Councils of the Church. And 
the centralising and formalising influence, thus produced, must 
powerfully have contributed to stereotype, if not originate, 
general and uniform services of religion. 

Now, if these reasons be regarded as sufficient to account for 
the prevalent uniformity of liturgies springing up in the fourth, 
or even the third century, then the silence of previous writers on 
the subject may be accepted as a presumption that there did 
not exist any fixed and recorded liturgies at an earlier period. 

Etheridge, in his Syrian Churches, gives a brief summary of 
reasons for "concluding that the practice of reading prayers 
from a MS. form was unknown in the Christian Church for the 
first three hundred years." In the persecutions under Diocletian, 
the books of worship, used in the Churches, were demanded 
under pain of cruelties and torture : we read of the Scriptures, 
sacramental vessels, etc., being delivered up : but there occurs no 
allusion whatever to manuscript services. 1 Again, there is the 
use of expressions, such as o<n? Swcyuc* with reference to the 
eucharistal prayer and thanksgiving, " which evidently betokens 
an extempore effort, and precludes the idea of a defined and 
limited document." 8 

sacred Scriptures for the increasing number of Churches in Constantinople, 
"the provision and use of which you know to be most needful for the 
instruction of the Church." He gives detailed instructions as to their 
preparation ; but he does not allude to any other sort of book, or formulary, 
as required for the Churches. 

1 This argument is stated at length by Bingham. Speaking of its 
conclusiveuess against the existence of images in the age of Diocletian, 
or the beginning of the fourth century, he adds, "And I think that the 
argument will hold as well against having their liturgies compiled into books 
and volumes, since it is scarce possible that such things, in difficult times, 
should have wholly escaped the notice and fury of their enemies " (bk. xiii. 
5, f . 3}. This, considering Bingham's views, is an important concession. 

3 Justi%Martyr. The expression of Tertullian, "sine monitore, quia de 
pectore," is not so conclusive ; but he elsewhere states that there was no 
written law (scripturam nullam invenies) for the modes of solemnising the 
Sacramental rites. De corona. 

3 We need hardly allude to the absence of forms in the Acts and Epistles. 
In the chapter that most bears on the subject (1 Cor. xiv.), the only 
requisite is that the prayer be not only "with the spirit," but in the 


Had the several Apostles left forms of prayer which, preserved 
by memory or writing, became the types of the four great liturgies, 
we should unquestionably have found them referred to specially' 
as the production of their inspired authors, or bearing their 
names. The testimony of Palmer is, however, clear against such 
a supposition. He says : 

"In my opinion, this appellation of St. Mark's liturgy began 
about the end of the fourth, or beginning of the fifth century, 
after Basil had composed his liturgy, which appears to have been 
the first liturgy that bore the name of any man. Other Churches 
then gave their liturgies the names of their founders. And 
so the Alexandrians and Egyptians gave theirs the name of 
'St. Mark,' and they of Jerusalem and Antioch called theirs 
'St James's '"(sec. 4, p. 93). 

Moreover, before the middle of the fourth century, no doctrine 
or expression of a liturgy is quoted by any writer in proof or 
illustration of what they have in hand. 1 But mark, the moment 
we come to the acknowledged age of liturgical forms, we meet 
with a profusion of references to their substance, their teaching, 
and their words. Augustine makes repeated quotations, as we 
have seen, against the Pelagian heresy; Jerome also with the 
same object ; Chrysostom's works abound with such references ; 
and subsequent Councils support their positions by open citations 

common tongue, and intelligible to the unlearned. It is not indeed 
impossible that such customary forms, as "for ever and ever, Amen," 
at the close of the thanksgiving ; Amen, at the reception of the elements ; 
mrsum corda, and peace be with you, with their responses, may have been 
of Apostolical usage, and so perpetuated in the Church. But this is xnere^ 
supposition ; and, even if admitted, it would not follow that they had been 
laid down, or imposed, by the Apostles. Indeed, if one reflects on the 
tendency of the human mind to seize upon accidental ceremonies or forms, 
and turn them into talismans of saving virtue, the unoeremonial simplicity 
of the New Testament cannot he sufficiently admired. When^ven those 
simplest of simple rites, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, have suffered so 
wonderful a transuhstantiation, what would not the fate have been of even 
the merest scraps of any formulary proceeding from the Apostles ? 

1 The expressions of Cyprian and Origen, formerly quoted, oan hardly be 
viewed as exceptions ; and if they were, would prove little. Forms might 
have been beginning in their times. 


of liturgical authority. "Now, of the Fathers previous to the era 
specified, we have remains of all descriptions, epistolary, didactic, 
allegorical, hortative, exegetical, commentatory, historical; nay, 
there is a discussion in Cyprian as to the mode of celebrating the 
Lord's Supper itself, and yet no quotation from, or reference to 
a liturgical service. Surely then there is good reason to conclude, 
that there was no prescribed form of words in current and general 
use before the fourth century. 1 

In conclusion, it must also be borne in mind that, even in 
the fourth and fifth centuries, the liturgical quotations and 
allusions refer almost exclusively to the Sacramental liturgy. 
But this was not the only service in early times. 2 Justin 
Martyr speaks of the prayers having ceased before the Com- 
munion service began ; and it is evident that there were other 
occasions of public devotion besides. It is most probable that 

1 A further proof, that there were no ancient liturgies prescribed by the 
Church, occurs in Euseb., Eccl. Hist. bk. v. ch. 28, where a late author is 
quoted as combating the argument that Unitarian doctrines were held by 
the Apostles, and were introduced by Victor in the beginning of the third 
century. He does so, by appealing to the Scriptures, to writers more ancient 
than Victor, and to " the psalms and hymns written by the brethren from the 
beginning, which celebrate Christ the Word of God, by asserting his Divinity. " 
Had there existed any liturgy in prescriptive use, it is hardly conceivable 
that it would not have been appealed to before any other human authority. 

9 Clirysostom, and the author of the Apostolical Constitutions, are the 
only authorities that give detailed references to the expressions of the cate- 
chumeiiical service. The "small number of collects," appearing in the 
early liturgies, seemed to Bingham so unfit to take up the space of time 
reasonably allotted to public service, that he concludes much of it was 
occupied in the "silent prayers" (&& &nri}s). One such mental prayer is 
'expressly directed by the Council of Laodicea. 

. A circumstance full of meaning is related by Palmer regarding tho 
Boman liturgy. At a particular point of tho service, the priest said 
"Qremus," and the whole Church prayed in silence. "This custom of 
secret prajjer became obsolete at Borne from no form being appointed for 
the purpose." In the sister liturgy of Milan, however, a collect was pro- 
vided, which still continues. At Rome we have still the "Oremus," but 
no prayer. It is an affecting relic of secret and warm devotion now de- 
parted (vol. i pp. 122 and 129). 

An instance of silent prayer will be found in the office of "ordination of 
priests " in the English service. 


these remained unrecorded and unfixed long after the Sacra- 
mental liturgy had assumed a prescribed, and even recorded, shape. 

From this long digression we return to the Indian liturgy, 
and place our case upon the example of the early Church. By 
all means let our Native Christians have the Anglican liturgy 
adapted to them. But to its regular and canonical use, add like- 
wise the primitive and Apostolical practice of unfixed and unre- 
corded prayers ; for, without these, her liturgy cannot meet the 
varied wants and changing character of the Churches of 
Eindostan. Let permission, then, he freely accorded, and the 
custom encouraged. 

If this proposition be negatived, then the only remaining 
alternative is, as formerly explained, to adapt, alter, and add to 
the recorded liturgy, much more largely than would otherwise be 
required. The catechumens and inquirers of the various classes 
that attend our services, must be prayed for, and encouraged to 
pray for themselves. And the "incredulous nations" must be 
extensively introduced into our petitions, both as subjects of 
intercession, and in connection with the reflex influence they 
exercise upon the state and prospects of the Church itself. All 
this we have shown to be imperatively required : and regarding 
all this, the English liturgy presents a vacant blank. 

Throughout this article, we have expressed ourselves freely 
regarding the liturgy of our Church. We now seek to guard 
such expressions by a deliberate record of our love and veneration 
for the English ritual. England owes to it a deep and weighty 
debt of gratitude. It has proved the bulwark of religious 
life and doctrine in the British isles. ' 

So much space has already been occupied, that our notice 
of the Urdoo work placed at the head of this article, must Je 
brief and rapid. It is a complete translation of the* English 
Prayer-Book, embracing, with a few exceptions, 1 the whole 

1 The exceptions are, the services for use at sea, the Gunpowder Treason, 
Clwrtos the Martyr, and the Kestorattoi of the JBoyal Family. The addition 
of the ecclesiastical tables (above 40 pages) has much swelled the book, and 
added to its expense. The greater part of them was quite unnecessary far 


services of the Church, ordinary and occasional, with the 
Articles. It has been printed separately in the Eoman and 
Persian character. 1 

We have before us another Urdoo translation, embracing all 
that the present work does, except the service on the anniversary 
of the Queen's accession. It was printed in 1829, at Calcutta, 
"for the Prayer -Book and Homily Society." It is a literal 
rendering of the Prayer-Book, and in the main executed with 
ability. It abounds, however, with high and difficult words, and 
would, in many parts, be unintelligible to the ordinary fre- 
quenters of our Churches. 

The translation of 1829 has apparently formed the ground- 
work of the present; and it has been so far improved upon, 
that the great mass of the learned and rare words have been 
vernacularised, and brought down to the comprehension of 
common hearers. Much skill and knowledge of native idiom 
have been brought to bear upon this task. The natural lan- 
guage of everyday life has often been applied with great 
happiness to the expression of what was before conveyed in a 
learned and recondite style. Nevertheless there still exist in the 
present work many rare and learned terms, which might, without 
much difficulty, have been replaced by more common words. 

the present. The perplexed calculations regarding the golden numbers and 
the dominical letter (ahdi haraf, aur zehbf addd) were especially needless. 
It has a curious effect to read so much about the Vigils, Fasts, and Days of 
Abstinence. " I adwal JBeddrion aur Rozon aur RidzoA ke dinon kf sdl bhar 
ke liye." Considering the terms employed, and especially the associations 
connected with the words roza and riteat, it is unfortunate that so much 
*has been said about them, in the present unfixed and unenlightened state 
of our Native Christians. By and by they will find out that we mean no 
harm by them ; but at present they may either do damage by creating 
wrgng impressions, or possibly lead to the exclamation "Ye observe days 
and montijji and times and years ; I am afraid of you." 

1 The chief author of this translation Is, we believe, the Rev. Mr. 
Smith, an excellent and talented missionary of the English Church at 
Benares. The opinion and advice of other missionaries were taken 
regarding it. The missionaries at Agra (no mean judges on such a 
question) were not favourable to its publication, without important 
alterations, which were not adopted. 


But the great demerit of this work arises from the attempt to 
make it a literal translation. It is more servile to the letter of 
the original than the rendering of 1829, and just in proportion 
to this servility is the real spirit and idea of the English version 
injured or lost. 

It is, in truth, one of the most illusory of conceits to fancy 

that, by verbal transference, a correct counterpart is obtained 

of the idea and spirit of a passage. A translation may be etymo- 

logically perfect, and yet no more give the force of the original, 

than the awkward dancing of a bear represents the graceful 

pirouettes of the ballet. The reason is obvious. Words and 

phrases gather around them an idiosyncrasy of their own, 

often quite independent of their grammatical derivation. The 

peculiar meaning and associations connected with them are the 

birth of place and circumstance, of national temperament, and 

the progress of civilisation. A word or phrase, which has 

grown up in Indian society, may thus have acquired a totally 

different colour, and convey an utterly diverse meaning, from 

that which it represents in the English lexicon and grammar: 

and so likewise with words in construction, and the interminable 

diversities of relative meaning, caused by the reflex influence of 

one word upon another. Each bears the stamp of its own 

nationality; and thus ideas, conveyed from one language to 

another by a simply grammatical transfer of words and sentences, 

are liable to differ entirely from the original. There may be 

a verbal counterpart, and yet no approximation to an ideal 

counterpart. To transfer the spirit and mind of a passage is 

an incomparably harder task. It requires an "intimacy with, 

native processes of thought." The idea of the original, 

thoroughly grasped, must first be thrown into the mental cast 

and habitude of the people for whom the translation is intended, 

and then into their language. An accomplished authoj, himself 

accustomed to translation, well remarks that this intimacy with 

the working of the native mind "is the most essential requisite" 

in translation. He says : 

" For whore languages, like Urdoo and English, are the product of a 
civilisation differing in history, tendency, character and development, it is 


obvious that even the most simple and elementary ideas, having been 
obtained through different channels, and having clothed themselves in 
forms altogether foreign the one to the other, can only be fully realised to 
the mind by reference to the sources whence they are derived. But any one, 
who has mixed with the people, and has informed himself of their social 
state, of which the vulgar tongue is the index and the exposition, and who 
knows the inlets by which truth can test insinuate itself into their minds, 
will not find any great difficulty in presenting to them a strange idea in its 
most significant shape, and in determining how the meaning in each 
sentence can best be expressed, so as not to run counter to the general 
current of their experience. Should there be no other alternative than to 
introduce an innovation, it will be easy for him to consider what novel 
mode of e tpression what parallel metaphor can be devised consistently 
with the scope and genius of the language, and with least violation of 
idiomatic propriety." 1 

We are far, indeed, from saying that, in the work before us, 
there is no attempt at the adaptation here so excellently ex- 
plained ; or that the attempt has not often been successful where 
it was possible to assimilate the English and the Indian com- 
position, and preserve the idea also. But there are innumerable 
cases in which this was not possible, and in which the translation 
must be pronounced, as a transfer of meaning, entirely defective. 

The close adhesion to English words and idiom has, besides 
these tangible defects, given a stiff, foreign and repulsive air to 
the whole work. It is not calculated to win its way among the 
Native communities by coming amongst them in a naturalised 
and attractive dress, and must therefore share the dislike with 
which everything foreign and strange is viewed by the society 
on whom it is imposed. Some of the quotations made below 
may illustrate this position : 2 but the impression we refer to, it is 
* not possible to bring out in a brief space. It is a pervading colour 
which affects the whole stream, though perhaps hardly perceptible 
in a few detached passages. This general repulsiveness destroys 
tfle effect of the happy renderings before commended. The lustre 
of the gem is lost in the rudeness of the setting. 

1 Letter of Sir H. M. Elliot to the Government of India, prefixed to a 
" Specimen translation of the Penal Code. Calcutta, 1848. For private 
circulation. " 

8 [Being in the Urdoo language, these are here omitted.] 


No doubt the necessity of a literal version was forced upon 
the translator, either by the strictness of his own views, or the 
mandate of his ecclesiastical superiors, which, we do not 
know. For our own part, we cannot perceive any reason 
whatever for enforcing such excessive closeness in the translation 
of a liturgy, at the cost of greatly impairing its usefulness. 
With the inspired Scriptures, it must ever be, for obvious 
reasons, a deeply important object to cling, with as close tenacity 
as possible, to an undeviating etymological transfer; though 
even there a too strict adherence will defeat its own purpose, 
and injure the translation as a transfer of idea*. 1 But with an 
uninspired production, the great object of which is to hold up, 
a standard of Christian thought and faith as the guide of 
public devotion coming in contact with many points of social 
life, surely it is the most unnecessary and mistaken strait- 
lacedness, by insisting upon a verbal translation, to impair its 
efficiency, and injure its suitableness for accomplishing the very 
objects designed by its introduction. We contend for a more 
common-sense and liberal course than thin. We plead for the 
translator, that he bo allowed a wide field for adapting the 
sense and spirit of the liturgy to native apprehension, and that 
a sufficient licence be given him for " considering what novel 
modes of expression, what parallel metaphors, can be devised," 
to make the liturgy " consistent with the scope and genius of 
the language," and the mind of India. 

[There follow two or three* pages of the kind of Urcloo 
phrases objected to, which it is not necessary to repeat here.] 

The Collects are in general translated with care ; but many 
parts of the baptismal and sacramental services are done in^an 
inferior stylo. The Articles are rendered with less altflity than 
any other part of the book ; so badly, indeed, as to be in some 
places, we fear, scarcely intelligible. 

The prayers for flie Queen and Royal Family ought un- 

1 [How sadly the disregard of this principle has injured the Revised 
Version of the New Testament] 


questionably to be remodelled. Whoever has attended a Native 
service, needs not to be told that they are altogether unstated to 
the knowledge and ideas of the Hindoo congregation. In place 
of these, and the prayer for the Parliament, etc., a new prayer, 
or series of prayers, suited to the notions and positions of the 
Native community, might with great propriety be substituted. 

The " Form of prayer with thanksgiving for the 20th of June, 
being the day on which Her Majesty began her happy reign," 
and which has been verbatim translated into Urdoo, appears to 
be remarkably ill adapted to the Natives of this country. A 
service, embracing all the references to Her Excellent Majesty 
which her Indian subjects are capable of appreciating, might with 
much benefit be constructed out of it ; and advantage might be 
taken to introduce suitable notices of the blessings gained to India 
by the British accession, thanksgiving for the benefits of peace, 
justice, and the light of the Gospel therefrom accruing, and prayers 
for their continuance. A service in behalf of the Supreme Author- 
ity in the State, thus modelled upon the conceptions and feelings 
of the people, would reach their hearts, and be offered up with a 
fervency never attainable by a foreign production, possessing so 
few points of contact with the Native mind as this does. 

But we have more than occupied our allotted space. We con- 
clude by again repeating that the liturgy will never gain the 
affections of the people, till it be thoroughly adapted to their 
circumstances, their modes of thought as well as modes of speech. 
Let the subject-matter and its treatment be that which affects 
Native life and exigencies. Let that be the paramount con- 
sideration, and forbear to introduce anything foreign in its 
reference, or inappropriate to the Indian mind, simply because it 
is found in the English liturgy. 

The importance of the object demands that it be not trifled with, 
nor the task carelessly slurred over. It calls for the best abilities 
and the highest talents in the ecclesiastical body. It is plain that 
those who have authority in the Episcopal Church, should take 
early and vigorous measures for securing to their Native flocks 
that which these have a right to expect and to demand A LITURGY 





A.D. 1887 

THE Psalms have been the refuge of the soul, the voice of the 
Church, the song of the saint, in all generations. They are still 
the same, as well in privacy of the still chamber as in public 
ministrations of the great congregation. From the treasury of 
the Psalter, be his outward state or inward frame what they 
may, the child of God is ever borrowing words that do give 
shape and substance to flitting thought, life to the soul, and 
fire to heavenward aspiration. 

Here is stored up Divine food, rich and abundant^ for every 
time and place. Something for the morning dawn, something 
for the busy day, and something for the dark watches ,of the 
night; something for the sick and solitary closet, something 
also for the thronging crowd. The backsliding, the penitent, 
the weak and afflicted, the doubting and the tempted ; the soul 
dwelling in darkness, desolate, disowned by man, or dreading 
to be forsaken by the Almighty; and not less, the Saint on 
fire with godly zeal, hungering and thirsting after the living 
God, borne upwards on wings of love and joy, each may find 
in the Psalms words framed, as it were, to suit his very case. 
*And as in personal, domestic, and social life, so also in a nation's 
history, whether in peace or warfare, whether the year be crowned 
with goodness or the staff of bread be broken, in the day of 
wealth and prosperity, as well as in. the night of calamity and 
pestilence; in short, at every turn of public life the people's 
voice of sorrow or of joy will ascend, as it can no otherwise 



ascend, in the Psalmist's very words. And, what is much to 
be observed, while Psalms abound with cries of anguish as well 
as with the " tenderest appeals to God's compassionate love that 
ever trembled on human lips/' 1 there is yet nothing weak or 
morbid, nothing extravagant or strained (as we too often see in 
our modern hymnody) throughout the Psalter: all is true and 
real, manly, simple, noble, and well-nerved. There are also in 
the Psalms of David revelations of the glory and attributes of 
the Almighty amongst the most instructive and sublime in the 
whole Bible. So well, indeed, have the sweet Singers of Israel 
been guided, both in probing the reins and "making manifest 
the secrets of the heart" 3 of man, and in the unveiling of 
Divine truth, that this alone were sure evidence of inspiration. 
Where else, indeed, than in the Psalms can we find that which 
is so keen " a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," 
and answers better the description of the Word of God, as "quick 
and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing 
even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints 
and marrow " 1 3 

True, we have not here fully revealed to us, as in the Gospel, 
the fatherhood of God, the good tidings of mercy to all mankind, 
or the virtue of forgiveness of injuries ; for " the law was given 
by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Still in 
every page we cannot but see that it is the same God of love 
shining in the Boyal songster's heart as, in later ages, shone in 
the believer's heart, "to give the light of the knowledge of the 
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 4 A remarkable 
feature in the Psalms is also this, that although the future life?, 
as a distinct conception, lay almost concealed from the Poet's 
eye, and there are but the barest allusions to it, yet whensoever 
our hearts ascend heavenwards, it is still most frequently the 
sweet Singer of Israel that gives us substance and material for* 
our hopes and aspirations. What sentiment, for example, in 
reference to the future state, is more frequently on the Christian's 
lips than this 

1 Perowne, vol. i. p. 247. a 1 Cor. xiv. 25. 

Heb. iv. 12. * 2 Cor. iv. 6. 


"Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, 

And afterward receive me to glory. 

Whom have I in heaven hut thee? 

And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 

My flesh and my heart faileth : 

But God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." 1 
Another very noticeable thing is this, that although the know- 
ledge of sin could not have been in the mind of the ancient 
Jew as it was fully brought to light by the teaching, example, 
and passion of our Lord, yet the first words that rise on 
the Christian's lips, oppressed by the burden and crying for 
pardon, are still the Psalmist's words. 2 And so the believer 
finds in these Psalms expression for his thoughts, be they 
dark or bright, joyful or tearful, doubting or trusting, for 
time or for eternity, as he finds it nowhere else. His cries 
and lamentations are all written for him in the book, and so 
are also the very words that give substance to thought when 
"his mouth is filled with laughter, and his tongue with singing." 8 
Such being the case, it is no wonder that the Christian world 
has made the Psalms in all ages its organ of expression for the 
devotions of the closet, the family, as well as for the services of 
the sanctuary. We find notices of their use, as such, in apostolic 
times, when " psalms and hymns " evidently formed a material 
part of the ordinary worship. 4 The earliest Christian services 
were to some extent founded upon those in the Synagogue and 
the Temple; and we know that in both of these, certain fixed 
Psalms were prescribed for the several days of the week, as 
well as suitable selections proper for the various festivals. 
Thus a similar practice would be continued naturally in 
Christian congregations. The hymn sung by the little company 

1 Ps. Ixxiii. 24-26. 

^ a Commenting on Ps. xviii. 20-80, Ferowne, after denying the imputa- 
tion of^self-rigliteousness, adds " Some allowance, too, must perhaps he 
made for the fact that under the Old Covenant the knowledge of sin was 
more superficial than it is under the New." And yet it is in David's words, 
more perhaps than in any other, that the Christian makes his confession 
of sin. 

8 Ps. oxxvi. 2. 

4 1 Cor. xiv. 26 ; Ephes. v. 19 ; Col. iii. 16. 


at the Last Supper was in all probability a part of the Hillel 
used according to custom at the eating of the Passover. 1 

In the earliest age, the Christians no doubt continued to 
follow the Jewish example in the services which they held by 
day, or rather by night. Psalms may also have formed to some 
extent an adjunct to the office of the Lord's Supper, after the 
example of the original institution. Proper Psalms, probably 
from the custom of the Synagogue, or otherwise chosen as 
suitable for the occasion, were apparently used for certain times 
and seasons, as the Fifty-first for the night, and the Sixty-third 
for the morning service; otherwise, it may be supposed that 
the selection of Psalms for ordinary worship was more or less 
at the discretion of the minister. But gradually, in course of 
time, the Psalms gained a pre-eminent position of their own; 2 
and the Church, going beyond the practice of the Jews, adopted 
for liturgical use the whole body of the Psalter. At what period 
their serial repetition or chanting from beginning to end, 
within specified limits of time, was introduced, is uncertain and 
obscure. Some authorities see indications of the practice in 
Basil's writings, as having prevailed in the fourth century; but 
the evidence is hardly conclusive. ' There is no doubt, however, 
that the custom of reciting in continuous sequence the entire book 
is of great antiquity. It prevailed early, as we find it still to 
prevail, in the ordinary services (as distinct from the Eucharistic 
services) of all the ancient Churches. In the Greek community, 
for instance, the entire Psalter is sung through once in every 

1 Ps. cxiii.-cxviii. ; Matt. xxvi. 30 ; Mark xiv. 26. For the Jewish use 
of the Psalms, see Temple Service by John Lightfoot, London (no date) : at 
p. 59 will be found the proper Psalms for each day. "These were the 
Psalms sung ordinarily throughout the year ; but at some certain days there 
were other Psalms and songs used, as the Song of Moses on Sabbaths ; 
Ps. Ixxxi. on the first day of the year ; proper Psalms for each day at the* 
Feast of Tabernacles/' There was no serial repetition of the Psalmaj^mong 
the Jews of old, nor is there at the present day ; indeed, a considerable 
portion of the Psalter was never intended for liturgical use at all. The 
Psalms are only read as a whole by the Jews as they stand in their place 
in the Old Testament, gone through once in the year. 

3 Toto orbe cantantur. Ang. Oonf. ix. 4. See also Freeman's Principles 
of Divine Service, vol. i. p. 62. 


week, and at certain seasons twice; in some monastic institutions 
every day. 1 

But while the serial recitation of the Psalter multiplied exceed- 
ingly throughout the world, the more ancient and edifying custom 
of appointing proper Psalms and selections of Psalms for days 
and seasons grew still more rapidly apace. 2 It took deep root 
and was widely practised in all the ancient churches, and thus 
the provision of special Psalmody, to be used more or less discre- 
tionally in substitution for the daily portion, tended in some 
degree to displace the serial use. Some of these selections of 
proper Psalms, or portions of the Psalter, are of great antiquity, 
as the fifteen Psalms (cxx.-cxxxiv.) repeated in the Greek Church 
every evening during the fifteen weeks preceding Christmas, and 
in the Western Churches during Lent. The enormous growth of 
festivals, saints' days, etc., in all the Catholic Churches (other 
than our own) has in this way led to the appointment of fixed 
Psalms appropriate for the occasion, and in practice superseded 
to a considerable extent the daily serial recitation. All this, and 
also the Western liberty of substituting certain devotional pass- 
ages for the Ferial offices of Thursday and Saturday (when the 

1 We read of the whole Psalter being committed to memory ; and in 
some Churches that the ability to repeat it by heart was one of the 
conditions of ordination (see some curious anecdotes about this in Smith's 
Dictionary, "Psalmody without Book," vol. ii. p. 1747). One remembers, 
in the island of Arran, coming across a bed-ridden Highlander who was 
going steadily through his daily recitation of the entire Psalter from 
memory ; about the forenoon he had reached the middle of the Psalms 
(Scotch version). 

3 Smith's Dictionary of Christian, Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 1749. In early 
times Psalms appear to have been sung at the Lord's Supper. Thus in the 
Coptic Church a Psalm was sung during the distribution ; and " Oaelestinus 
(422 A.D.) is said to have directed that Psalms of David should be sung 
before* the sacrifice" (Smith's Dictionary, vol. ii. pp. 1021, 1032). Again, 
"Psalm xxii., as we learn from Augustine, was sung in the North African 
congregations at the Easter celebration of the Lord's Supper. More than 
fourteen centuries have passed since the Vandals drowned those songs in 
blood ; but a stranger who happens to look in upon a Scottish congregation 
on a Communion Sabbath will be likely enough to find the Psalm turned 
to the same holy and solemn use" (Binnie, quoted by Perowne, in loco). 


Psalms for the day are unusually long) has led to the frequent otai^ 
sion of large portions of the daily Psalms. "While, therefore, tlx e 
service of these churches is enriched, to a degree unknown witlh 
us, by selected Psalmody of the kind described (as well as by tlx e 
introduction of other songs and hymns occurring throughout tt e 
Bible), the habit has at the same time materially interfered -with. 
the constant and unvaried repetition of the whole Psalter in serial 

There is also practised in other churches the antipJional mode, 
unknown amongst us ; that is, the intercalary response of 
sentence, taken either from the Psalm itself or otherwise 
times a verse from the New Testament), bearing on the Psalm , 
and to some extent guiding its interpretation. The ancient habit, 
still followed in some of the Eastern Churches, was for this anti- 
phonal response to be intercalated between each, verse of the 
Psalm ; but ordinarily it is now recited only at the close of a 
Psalm or division of Psalms (ftathismata and staseis). The anti- 
phon, varied thus according to the occasion and subject in hand, 
must, no doubt, often bring out with clearness the doctrinal 
application of the several Psalms to the season or special occasion 
on which they are used. Neale, indeed, thinks the guide thus 
afforded to be so effective, that he compares it to the helm of a 
ship. 1 Whatever the help from this ancillary organ may be, it is 
wholly wanting with us. 

Coming now to the use of the Psalms in the Church of Eng- 
land, we observe that, with rare exception, it is a serial repetition 
pure and simple. When the ancient English Office was remodelled 
for us at the Reformation, the whole growth of festival and other 
special services was, so far as Psalmody is concerned, almost 
entirely cut down, and the daily recitation in serial course alone 

1 Thus on Good Friday, the Gregorian antiphon for the 22nd Psalm is, t 
"They parted my garments among them," etc. For the song of isriah. 
(xxvi.) the antiphon is, " Thine anger is turned away, and Thou eonxfbrtedst 
me" (Isa. xii.). "Let us completely change the antiphon," says UTeaJe, 
"and observe how the signification will be altered. I never thus n otice the 
way in which the Psalm, so to apeak, obeys its antiphon, without ealling to 
' mind that verse, 'Behold the ships'" (Jas. iii. 4). Neale, i. p. 53. He 
profusely illustrates this subject, pp. 34-58 et passim. , 


retained. We have proper Psalms, indeed, for 
Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, and Whit 
Sunday ; but that is only six out of the three hundred and sixty- 
five days, making practically no variation in the daily use. 1 And 
so it has come to pass that the Church of England and the Epis- 
copal bodies in Scotland and Ireland are the only liturgical com- 
munions in the world in which the use of the Psalter is confined 
to an almost exclusively serial repetition. 

We say the churches of Great Britain and Ireland, for the 
Protestant Episcopal Gliwcli in the United States of America has 
provided an alternative series of Psalms for use in its ordinary 
services. It is now over a hundred years ago when the American 
Church, partly to avoid the vindictive psalms (against the recita- 
tion of which a strong feeling prevailed), and also to secure greater 
variety, made this selection. In their Book of Common Prayer, 
the list is placed before "The Psalter or Psalms of David," and 
is headed, " SELECTIONS OF PSALMS, to be used instead of the 
Psalms for the day, at the discretion of the Minister." They 
consist (besides the Selections for " Holy days," sixteen) of ten 
series, each containing several Psalms or parts of Psalms. 2 It is 
thus in the power of the Minister to give greater variety, richness, 
and appropriateness, to the portions for the day, as well as to avoid 
the recitation of any imprecatory passages. But these selections, 
in comparison with what can be done in the same direction, are 
scant and meagre. They might have been greatly multiplied and 
expanded with the utmost benefit. And the adoption freely into 
their number of such songs as abound in Isaiah and throughout 
the Bible, according to the example of other Churches, would 
have imparted an unimaginable fulness, freshness, and breadth to 
the thoughts and aspirations of the congregation. 

^ 1 There are also the four fixed Psalms used as Canticles In tlie morning 
' and evening services. We take no account of the Proper Psalms for special 

services, as for Burial, Marriage, Visitation of the Sick, etc,, as these do 

not affect the daily use. 

3 The tables will be found at the close of this article. The omissions are 

such "vindictive" passages as Ps. cxxxix,, from ver. 19, "Surely Thou wilt 

slay the wicked," to ver. 22, " I hate them with perfect hatred, I count thorn 

mine enemies, " the last two verses being retained. 


Looking beyond our Episcopal churches, it may be germane 
to the subject to add that the Presbyterians take the lead, one 
might say, of all other bodies of Christians, in their love for the 
Psalms, and attachment to their constant use. The "Psalms of 
David in Metre," rugged and ungainly as the version is, and 
abounding in barbarisms, still maintains its place in the affections 
and service of the Scotch, generally, however, in portions of but 
four or live verses at a time. The chanting of psalms from the 
prose version begins also occasionally to find a place in some of the 
Presbyterian Churches. Serial or continuous recitation in any 
form would be foreign to the free and unliturgical habits of the 
Scotch; but there is no body in the world among whom tie 
Psalms are more assiduously sung, both in public assemblies and 
at private worship. Indeed, some branches of the Presbyterian 
Church go to the strange extreme of holding unlawful, in the 
psalmody of the congregation, any hymns or human compositions 
but the Psalms alone. Even the "Paraphrases," or passages 
of Scripture freely rendered into verse as hymns, are excluded. 
And this (which finds its parallel curiously enough in the early 
Church) occurs, not in Scotland only, but amongst the Presby- 
terians in America and other parts of the world. 1 

The Nonconformist Churches in England, it is sad to say, have 
gone quite to the extreme in the opposite direction. They make 
little use of the Psalms at all, excepting to read them as they do 
other parts of the Bible. Occasionally a Psalm is chanted, or it 
may be sung as an Anthem. But the great body of their psalmody 
is taken from bulky Hymn-books, the contents of which, beauti- 
ful in some parts, do not always compare advantageously with the 

1 Tto Psalms, by Dr. Carl B. Moll. Edinburgh : J. & G. Clark. 1874. 
See p. 40 of the valuable Introduction to this work. Binnie is there quoted 
as saying : "The Psalms retain to this day something of their ancient pro-, 
minence in the Genevan and French Churches. In Holland a numerous ' 
party in the Reformed Church scruple, like the primitive African Church, 
to employ in public worship any hymns but those of the Psalter, and it is 
well known that the same scruple is somewhat extensively prevalent in Scot- 
land and the United States of America." For the prohibition in the early 
Church, vide iMdem, p. 86 ; and Hotham's article " Psalmody" in Smith's 
Dictionary, p. 1743. 


Psalms of David, whether in substance and poetic life, or as 
organs of worship representing at once the needs of humanity 
and the resources of Divine help. 1 

It thus appears, speaking broadly, that our own Episcopal 
Churches stand almost alone in the exclusively serial repetition 
of the Psalter, month by month, for their daily service, without 
any attempt whatever to vary and adapt the rich material stored 
therein, according to the circumstance of times and seasons. No 
discretion is given, as in every other Church is given, to make 
any change whatever by alternative selection, or to depart in the 
least from the beaten order. The Psalms of the six days for 
which proper Psalms are appointed probably strike and impress 
the congregation from their appropriateness, as the Psalmody on 
no other occasion does. But with this small exception, whatever 
the season or the burden of the hour, it is still, the same invari- 
able round. And so is, too often, fostered the tendency towards 
a mechanical repetition. How seldom again are the Psalms ex- 
plained from the pulpit, either exegetically or historically, and yet 
how much of the point of their lesson and spirit depends thereon! 2 

Looking now to all these considerations, and to the practice 
of other Churches, the question occurs whether some freer and 
more intelligible use might not be made by our Church of the 
rich and varied materials stored up in the Psalter. Freeman, 
who will be listened to with respect as an unprejudiced authority, 

It is chiefly in the amount of her Psalmody that our present Offices contrast 
unfavourably with those of the West, and yet more with the Eastern. This, 

1 This supersession of the Psalms, often in many respects by very inferior 
matter, is ascribed by Binnie to the influence of Watts. He says : "In the 
course of last century the use of Watts' Adaptations of the Psalms led the 
way to a general introduction of modem hymns among the English Noncon- 
formist, to the exclusion of the Bible Psalmody ; and a similar change took 
place in the greater part of the American Churches." In Germany one never 
hears the Psalms sung in the Lutheran Churches, but only the Hymnal. 

2 Take ess. gr. the Second Psalm. The words, "Kiss the Son" are pro- 
bably repeated by nine out of ten worshippers without any distinct sense of 
what is intended. 


in itself to be earnestly regretted, could it be avoided, is a result of the 
brevity of the Offices themselves. 1 , 

Again, after noticing the revision in the middle of the six- 
teenth century of the older forms of PJRIVATE DEVOTION, by 
which the Prayers, Lessons, etc., in the Morning and Evening 
Offices were interspersed with selected Psalms, he adds, 

Nor can I forbear to remark that, if any revision of our Horning Office were 
undertaken, on the principle of enriching it, with the least possible amount 
of disturbance or increase of complexity, from the older forms, the Office 
which we have just reviewed would suggest one effective method of accom- 
plishing the object. The weak points of our present Office, so to speak 
those in which it fails to render with as much fidness as could be desired 
the mind of the older forms are, (1) the small amount quantitatively of 
Psalmody, and (2) the absence of any expression, by means of selected 
Psalms, of Laud and Prime ideas. The expression of these is thrown upon 
other features, as Canticles (or Psalms used as Canticles), Collects, Petitions, 
etc. Now, by introducing immediately after the To Deum, or Benedioite, 
a small group of Lauds or Prime Psalms exactly as is done in the Private 
Office before us, the defect would be in a measure remedied. 3 

Then, after suggesting several Psalms that might be suitably 
selected for different parts of the service, 

But the great purpose answered would be the increased fulness of expression 
hereby given to the Lauds or Prime ideas. 9 

Again, speaking of the service of Praise in our Morning and 
Evening Offices, he says, 

The want which can scarcely foil to be felt here, is that of a greater body 
and abundance of Psalmody. 

And then he proceeds to dilate on the bearing of certain descrip- 
tions of Psalms that might be selected for the various times of the 
day. 4 
Again he says, 

It is only when looking back to the multitudinous and unstinted Praise of 
the Apostolic times the vast volume of Psalms, Hymns, and Canticles^ 
... it is only then that, notwithstanding compensations involve^ in our 
Lessons and Prayers system, I confess to feeling our measure of Psalmody 
and similar features somewhat scanty and unsatisfying. 8 

1 Priwipk* tf Divine Service, by the Bev. Philip Freeman, M.A. 
Oxford and London: Parker, 1855. VoL i. p. 156. 

1 JfiWfc p. 299. 8 76M. p. 299. * Ibid. p. 332. Hid. p. 891. 


Then, adverting to the risks and dangers that might arise in 
making any such changes in the services of our Church, he 

Still it is frankly to be conceded, that if the present needs of the Church 
so require if any serious loss is being suffered for want of alteration, 
or some great gain is even probably to be achieved by it no reasons of 
antiquity or association, no theoretical excellence of structure, ought to 
avail against it. With such objects in view, even some degree of risk may 
reasonably be run. But it may confidently be asked, Has any such case 
been made out for the changes or additions advocated ? 1 

This question he answers, though somewhat hesitatingly, in 
the negative, partly because the ordinary Office can already be 
amplified and enriched by " the free use of Hymns," and partly 
because the enterprise would be a " great and hazardous " one. 
But there surely would be little risk or hazard in the attempt to 
give the wanting elasticity and breadth to the Psalmody of our 
Church by a well-devised selection of Psalms that might be used 
at discretion alternatively with the serial portion for the day. 
Why should the Church of England not follow in this respect 
the example of her American sister, an example that would 
involve no disturbance of the existing Offices, nor any points of 
doctrine or questions of ritual 1 But if the needed richness and 
variety are to be attained, the American programme must be 
vastly enlarged and adapted to our various wants. Moreover, 
our Church should surely, as all other Churches do, adopt 
into frequent use as part of her collection, some of the other 
Prayers and Songs of worship, penitence, and praise, scattered 
throughout the Bible. Why, for example, have we dropped out 
of our Service altogether that beautiful hymn the Twelfth of 
* Isaiah, or the Third of Habakkuk? 2 It is nothing short of 
^lamentable that these and many other Divine and noble songs, so 
eminently fitted for devotional use, should never be thus employed 
* J Prityiples ofDMne Service, voL i. p. 392. 

a These are used weekly in the Lauds service of the Western Church, and 
they are also in use in the Oriental Churches. Other such beautiful hymns 
or songs are Isaiah xxv., xxvi., xxxv., xxxviii., etc. ; Jeremiah xxxi. ; 
Jonah ii.; two Songs of Moses, the Song of Hannah, etc. The Twelfth of 
Isaiah is, we might say, the pearl of the Old Testament, and one marvels 
greatly at its disuse. 



as other Churches do employ them, but read only in course 
perhaps once only in the year. 

A further advantage which it would be difficult to over- 
estimate arising out of such enlargement is, that it would present 
an altogether unobjectionable alternative to the obligatory use of 
the vindictive and minatory Psalms in our congregational worship. 
These we read with reverence as part of God's holy Word. But 
it is one thing to read them so, and quite another thing to use 
them as devotional songs, expressive in some measure of the sub- 
jective language of our own hearts; to adopt their language, 
in fact, more or less as our own. Gould we have something else 
substituted for them, it would be to many (to many more than 
perhaps we think) a sensible relief. 

This matter of the vindictive character of some of the Psalms 
is surrounded with difficulties. Few of the various theories set 
forth to explain their bearing, or reconcile them with the Chris- 
tian rale of the forgiveness of injuries, are of a satisfactory kind. 
For example, it has been argued that the Jewish dispensation, 
not recognising the doctrine of future rewards and punishments, 
was based on the notion of a final adjustment in the present life; 
so that under it the saint was justified in longing to see the 
balance of retribution struck against his enemies an utterly un- 
tenable doctrine, and one moreover which, even if true, would 
not justify the Christian worshipper in appropriating the language 
as expressive of his own feelings. 1 Equally unfounded is the 
theory that the imprecatory passages must be taken in a prophetic 
sense, the verb being equally capable of a future as of an 
optative construction. 2 Still less acceptable to the judgment are 
the mystical interpretations so profusely and fantastically assigned * 
to the Psalms by early Christian writers, meanings which, m 
1 Papers by Joseph Hammond in the Expositor, vol. iv. p. 236. 
a Bishop Seabury, the first American bishop, went so far as to prepare 
and publish a Psalter in which the Imperative of the imprecator/passages 
is replaced by the JPutuw tense in ninety-seven places, asserting on the 
authority of Home that the Hebrew is equally capable of either interpreta- 
tion. The subject was occupying much attention in America at the time 
the revision of the Prayer-Book was carried out, and the alternative 
selection introduced (1789). 


instead of edifying, can hardly fail of provoking a smile at the 
puerility of most of their conceptions. 1 

The subject is treated with much delicacy and discretion by 
Perowne : 

The real source of difficulty lies in our not observing and bearing in mind 
the essential difference between the Old Testament and the New. The 
older dispensation was in every sense a sterner one than the new. The 
spirit of Elias, though not an evil spirit, was not the spirit of Christ 
(Luke ix. 55). " The Sou of man came not to destroy men's lives, but to 
save them." And through Him his disciples are made partakers of the same 
spirit. But this was not the spirit of the older economy. The Jewish 
nation had been trained in a sterner school. ... It is conceivable how even 
a righteous man under it, feeling it to be his bounden duty to root out 
evil wherever he saw it, and identifying, as he did, his own enemies with 
the enemies of Jehovah, might use language which appears to us unnecessarily 

Again, having noticed certain denunciations in the New 
Testament that have been held by some as parallel with the 
minatory passages in the Old, Perowne adds, 

But even these expressions are very different from the varied, deliberate, 
carefully constructed, detailed anathemas of the Psalms. . . . But after all, 
whatever may be said of particular passages, the general tone which runs 
through the two Covenants is unquestionably different. 

Then, after adducing certain palliatives in behalf of the Jewish 
writers as their zeal for God's house, ignorance of judgment in 
the world to come, and impatience for God's righteousness to be 
manifested in this, he concludes, 

They longed to see that righteousness manifested. It could be manifested, 
they thought, only in the evident exaltation of the righteous, and the 
evident destruction of the wicked here. Hence, with their eye always fixed 

1 For example, take Ps. cxxxvii. 0, "Happy shall he be that taketh and 
Masheth thy little ones against the stones." Neale, in loco, adopts the 

explanation of Theodoret. Babylon is the Flesh. "The happy out is he 
who subdues the flesh with fasting and austerities, and who takes tho 
children of the flesh, the first motions of evil thoughts, while they are 
still new and weak, and dashes them against the Rock, which is Christ 
(1 Cor. x. 4), who hath said of Himself, 'Whosoever shall fall on this 
Stone, 1 " etc. (Matt. xxi. 44). Neale and Littledale's Commentary, vol. iv, 
p. 802. 

2 Perowne, vol. i. p. 315, 


on temporal recompense, they could even work and pray for the destruction 
of the ungodly. The awful things of the world to come were to a great 
extent hid from their eyes. Could they have seen these, then surely their 
prayer would have been, not " Let the angel of the Lord persecute them " ; 
but rather, with Him who hung on the cross, " Father, forgive them, for 
they know not what they do." 1 

Referring elsewhere to what he had thus written, he adds, 

I have there endeavoured to show that, whilst we need not suppose that the 
indignation which burns so hotly is other than a righteous indignation, yet 
that we are to regard it as permitted under the Old Testament rather than 
justifiable under the New. . . . How clearly our Lord Himself teaches us, 
that his spirit and the spirit of Elijah are not the same t Yet surely 
no prophet of the Old Testament occupies a higher place as an inspired 
messenger of God than the prophet Elijah. Our Lord does not condemn the 
prophet for his righteous zeal ; He does not forbid the manifestation of a 
like zeal on the part of his disciples. As in the Sermon on the Mount He 
substitutes the moral principle for the legal enactment, so here He substitutes 
the spirit of gentleness, meekness, endurance of wrongs for the spirit of fiery 
though righteous indignation. The Old Testament is not contrary to the 
New, but it is inferior to it. 8 

And so again he says further, 

An uninstruoted fastidiousness, it is well known, has made many persons 
recoil from reading these Psalms at all. Many have found their lips falter 
when they have been called to join in using them in the congregation, and 
have either uttered them with bated breath and doubting heart, or have 
interpreted them in a sense widely at variance with the letter. 9 

In point of fact, the passages in question are too often recited 
or chanted with a forgetful indifference to the dire tenor of the 
words; or they occasion the "recoil" so well described above; 
or, more probably still, there may be a mental process going on all 
the while in the heart of the worshipper, unconsciously perhaps, 
reconciling the maledictions to his judgment as the fruit of a. 
lower dispensation. In every reflecting mind there is probaljly 
the insensible contrast made of such vindictive prayers ijith the 
Christian axiom to "heap coals of fire on the head" of our 
enemies. Compare, for example, the maledictions in the 69th 
Psalm with our Saviour's inculcation, uttered in immediate and 
pronounced contrast to the Mosaical precepts : "But I say unto 

1 Perowne, vol. i. p. 316, a Ibid. p. 64. 8 Ibid. p. 815. 


you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to 
them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, 
and persecute you." 1 And, "If ye forgive not men their tres- 
passes, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." 2 And 
so we have the following conclusion by Perowne as to the use proper 
to be made by us of the imprecatory passages. While admitting 
the lessons they are designed to teach, he nevertheless says, 
Surely then we are justified in saying that the imprecations in the Psalms, 
though springing from a righteous zeal for the glory of God, and not from 
any mere thirst of personal revenge, still are not such as a Christian can 
lawfully, in their natural sense, use now. 3 

Now, looking gravely at these serious difficulties looking also 
to the practice of all other Churches which avail themselves of a 
sensibly fuller and richer resort to the Psalms of David, and 
admit a certain latitude and variety in the discretionary use of the 
materials they so freely offer, instead of the bare and unvaried 
daily repetition of the same month by month, would it not be a 
worthy and a fruitful undertaking to follow the example of the 
sister Church across the Atlantic, on even a greatly wider and 
extended scale, and provide for use in our congregations alter- 
native series from the Psalms and other Divine songs throughout 
the Bible? This might surely be done without in the least 
degree disturbing otherwise the liturgy of the Church, or tamper- 
ing with any of its doctrines, or with the ritual of its beautiful 
and endeared service. To multitudes it would afford relief, and 
for all vastly increase the means of edification. 

Looking to the services of Native churches in other lands, 

iMatt. v. 44. *M& vi. 15. 

3 Perowne, vol. i. p. 65. Delitzsch takes, on the whole, a similar view. 
"The Psalms are the purest and most faithful mirror of Old Testament 
piety." In the mind of David, the future of Israel is bound up with his 
*g wn fortunes ; and his wrath kindles at his enemies, " in connection with 
the hisjpry of redemption. It is, therefore, holy fire ; but as Jesus Himself 
asserts in Luke ix. 55, the spirit of the New Testament is in this respect, 
nevertheless, a different spirit from that of the Old." Delitzsch's Biblical 
Commentary. Hodder & Stoughton, 1887. Vol. i. p. 501. See also p. 502 
on Ps. xxxv., where the curses are viewed as prophetical : "And it is only 
in this sense that the Christian can use them in prayer/' that is, with a 
mental reservation. 


as India and Africa, a very special advantage would be gained 
by adopting a system which, while it gave greater variety and 
freedom of choice, would avoid the constant repetition of 
minatory passages far less likely to be properly understood by 
the Churches there even than among ourselves. 

Prom the Appendix it will be seen that within the last 
twenty years, the Conventions of Canterbury and York have 
brought the subject of Selections of Proper Psalms for Certain 
Days, before the Queen ; and we believe a similar desire exists 
on the part of the Scotch Episcopal Church. Mb doubt diffi- 
culties have been found in the way; but these can hardly be 
insuperable. Why, then, should not our Convocation and Church 
Congresses address themselves to such a worthy task t 


IN the American Book of Common Prayer, we find the following 
instruction regarding the Order of Psalmody : 

" The Minister shall, on the days for which they are appointed, use the 
Proper psalms. . . . But note, that on other days, instead of reading from 
the Psalter as divided for daily morning and evening prayer, he may read 
one of the selections set out by the Church." 

Then follows " A Table of Proper Psalms on Certain Days," 
being sixteen in number, as follows : 

First Sunday 
in Advent. 





30,31 ' 


19, 45, 85 

89, 110, 132 


2, 57, 111 




65, 103 



24, 47, 108 


46, 47, 48 






20, 86, 87 


Trinity Sun- 


93, 97, 150 

' Ash-Wednes- 

6, 32, 38 



27, 61, 93 





St. Michael's. 

91, 103 

34, 148 

Good Friday. 

22, 40, 54 


AJ1 Saints' Day. 

1, 15, 146 




After this we have the 



1, 15, 91 




4, 31 to v. 7, 91, 134 




19, 24, 103 

85, 93, 97 



23, 34, 65 




26, 43, 141 




32, 130, 121 





123, 124, 125 




"Offt IT 

139, 145 

mujUL'JL'js an XH.. 







148, 149, 150 


At the proper places, both in the Morning and Evening 
service, there is the following instruction: "Then shall follow 
a portion of the Psalms, as they are appointed, or one of the 
Selections of Psalms." The 51st Psalm is also to be read on 
Ash-Wednesday, and indiscriminately throughout Lent. 


Selections proposed by 

It is interesting to note that the Conventions of Canterbury 
and York, in " Reports presented to Her Majesty the Queen in 
the year 1879," recommended the following selections of special 
Psalms : 




Advent Sunday. 




8, 40, 90 



46, 47, 67 

72, 117, 135 


20, 48, 84 

87, 93, 134, 138 

Annunciation . 


113, 131, 132 

Thursday before Easter. 

23, 26, 42, 43 

141, 142, 143 

Easter Even. 

4, 16, 17 


Trinity Sunday. 

29, 33, 46 

93, 97, 99 

St. Michael and All Angels. 


103, 148 

All Saints. 



146, 147, 149 


ABD SBAMS, 138. 

Abu Bekr, 135. 

Abu Daftd, 118. 

AbuHanifa, 117. 

Abu Horeira, 112, 114. 

Adnan, 145. 

African liturgy, 180. 

Aga Akbar, 19. 

Ahmed, Ibn Zain-al-abidin, 8. 

Akbar, the Emperor, 7. 

Alexandrian liturgy, 179. 

All Hassan, Syud, 35, 36, 52, 89. 

Al Kindy, 4. 

Ancient liturgies, 175 et seq., 181. 

Apostolical Constitutions, 178. 

Armenian liturgy, 179. 

Athanasian creed, 60. 

Augustine, 160. 

BAGHAWI, 133. 

Bards, professional, 119. 

Bedouins, 141. 

Bedr, field of, 78, '134. 

Binghaxn, 169 et seq. 

Biographers, early, 119 ; glorify Ma- 

hornet, 122 ; 127, 133, 144, 150. 
Biographies, early, viii, 104. 
Biographies of Mahomet English, 

66 et ay., 87 ; Native, 77 et seq., 88. 
Bishops for Native churches, 167. 
Bokhfa, 117. 
Bowley, William, 58. 
Brown, 6. 
Buchanan, 6. 

OAHTA-N, 144. 
A Carey, 6. 
Catechumens, Uletseq., 174. 

Collators of tradition, 110 et seq. 

Commentaries on Coran, viii., 104, 128 
etseq. 9 182e0e?. 

Ooran, 104, 128 etseq., 130. 

Cossai, 138. 

DANCING, Moslem notions regarding, 

Dewan, Omar's civil list, 134, 143. 

Dildar AH, Syud, 58. 

Din Haqq ki tahqty, 29, 90, 95. 

ELLIOT, SirH. M., on translation, 194. 
English liturgy, no reference to 

climate or surrounding heathen, 

JSrmobled Nativity, The, viii., 76 et 

40(7., -119. 

* 176. 

FdrJcalete, the, 38. 
Forster, 42 et seq. 
Francis i., 3. 

GALLICAN liturgy, 180. 
Genealogies, viii,, 104, 134 et seq., 

140, 142, 144. 
Guadagnoli, 9. 

HAJJ&T, 150. 

Hall ul Ishk&l, 96. 

Hammed Micy, 146. 

Hashim, 138. 

Heavenly journey, Mahomet's, 123, 


Honorius iv., 3. 
Sydt-ul-Ouliib, 55. 

IBN ABB&S, 108, 131, 132. 

Ibn Hanbal, 117. 

Ibn Hisham, 125. 

Ibn Ishac, 120, 121, 125. 

Ibn Ehaldun, 130. 

Ibn Ocba, 125. 

Ibn S'ad, W&ckidi's secretary, 126, 

Ibrahim, Mirza, 10, 11, 17, 48. 


KAB the Rabbin, 131. 
Kamrdd-deen, 88, 
KasTif-ul-Ast&r, 52etscq. t 96. 
Eazim Ali, 14, 15, 33, 59. 




Kennicott, 17. 
Zhair Khah Bwd, 85. 
Kitab-i-Istifsar, Book of Questions, 
Wet seq., 96. 

LEE, Dr., 7, 11 et seq., 17, 19, 50. 

Lift of Molwmmed, W. Irving's, 67 ; 
Tract Society's, 68 et seq. ; TJrdoo, 72. 

LIGHT of Mahomet, viii., 77, 79. 

Liturgies, effect of, on the people, 155. 

Liturgy, mystical, 162 ; Indian, ix., 
156 et seq. 

Locke, 17. 

Lord's Prayer confined to the Faith- 
ful in early Church, 161. 

MAHOMMED HDF, Syud, 53. 
Mahomet, his relations towards 

Christianity and Judaism, 129 et 

seq., 144. 

Martyn, Henry, 6, 7, 9 ct seq. 
tfathfaii (reiterated passages), 105. 
Maultid, Sliartf, 76 et seq* 86, 119. 
Mehdie, Caliph, 147. 
Mifm'Ut-4ardr, 20, 22 et seq. 9 54. 
Mtedn-ul.ffaqq, 13, 18, 20 et seq. 9 30, 

32, 54, 90. 
Mofaddhal, 147. 

MolmmiedMiism Unveiled, 42 et seq. 
Monophysites and Orthodox, use of 

St. James's liturgy by both, 174 et 

seq., 181, 184. 
Mujlhid, 131. 

Mujtahid of Lucknow, 31, 52. 
Muslim, his collection, 118. 
Muta, battle of, 75. 

NESTORFAN liturgy, 180. 
Nile, liturgy of, 157. 

OMAR, ]85. 

Omar n. collects written traditions, 


Oral tradition, 112, 114, 116. 
Oriental liturgy, 179. 
Orwa, 124. 
Othman, 139. 

PAMBY, 51. 

Palmer on primitive liturgies, 172 

at seq. 

Paniput, tribal tradition there, 137. 
Paper, material of, test of antiquity, 


Pfander, vii., 13, 20, 32 et seq., 36, 

52 etseq. 9 63, 67, 92, 94, 96 et seq. 
Poets, early, 145. 
Psalms, American selections, 205. 

Jewish use of, 202. 

Minatory, 210. 


RANKIN, 39. 

Rehmat Ali, 38. 

Rhapsodists, 141. 

Roman liturgy, 179. 

Ruza, Mahommed, 9, 10 et seq. 

ST. JAMES'S liturgy, 174 ; traced up- 

wards, 177. 

St. Mark's liturgy, 157. 
Satolat uz ZaigJwm, 14, 23, 25, 37, 

40, 50. 

Schedule of liturgies. 180. 
Shdfi, 117, 120. 
Shiea collectors, 118. 
Soyuty, 138. 

Spreuger, viii., 66, 88, 103, 148. 
Sufies, 151. 
Sumner, 51. 

AMMO* viii., 104, 106 et seq., 127. 
Syuds, the, 134. 

TABAJII, 132. 

Tartq-ul-Hy&t, 20, 27 et seq. 

Thalabi, 132. 

Thomasoii, Rev. Mr., 6. 

Tirmidsy, 118. 

"Tree of Life," Pfander's, 31. 

Tribal nobility, 186, 188. 

UBDOO liturgy, 192. 

WAcxror, 66, 70, 71, 115, 119, 

125 et seq., 144, 151. 
Wackidi, pseudo, 121. 
Waddington, 3. * 

Wahabies, 73. 

Washington Irving, vii., 67 et seq. * 
Weil, 66, 69. 

Wilson, 39. , * 

Wolff, Joseph, 53. * 

Written tradition, oral preferred to, 


XAVIER, 7, 8, 9. 

ZEID'S Ooran, 105, 129, 131. 

ovi r u>t_ . --, -,^- >"